Google's beating the drum about the FCC's 700mhz auction rules again—or rather, US phone service provider Verizon's persistent efforts to undercut them. In the latest post on their public policy blog, Google calls out Verizon for trying to "water down" the rules in closed-door meetings, specifically two regarding open devices and open apps, saying they shouldn't apply to a licensee's own devices—in other words, if Verizon wins they want to be able to continue locking down their wares like Fort Knox, probably in gaudy red fare. The first rule says that auction winners "shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice..." while the second states that "no licensee may disable features on handsets it provides to customers...." Verizon's apparent rationale is that as long as unlocked devices from mythical other parties can connect to the network, competition—the raison d'Ãªtre of the rules—is preserved.
While Google's obviously got a stake in the outcome—they're debating on jumping into the auction, pending the actual final result of the rule dispute—overall, I agree with them. If the rule vote in July was intended to be final it should stay that way, and an open-access network with open devices and applications looks to be far more promising for consumers than what we're currently stuck with. I mean it's possible someone likes the way current US mobile carriers and telecoms do their business, but I've yet to meet them. [Google, Image via Flickr]