Google is calling out Verizon to the FCC in regards to the V’s recent win in the 700MHz bandwidth auction. One of the rules the winners have to abide by is the open access portion, stating that the bandwidth the carrier uses would have to be open to any application on any device, not just those supplied by the winner.
The Goog thinks that Verizon’s reading of the rule is more along the lines of “any application as long as we sell the hardware”. More to the point, Verizon seems to think that if you bring you own device you’ll get free access, but if you buy one from Verizon, they can limit your access.
Verizon at this point is only stating that Google has no legal footing here, but hasn’t yet disclosed what it’s planning for the spectrum. It makes for an important precedent, so we’ll be following this.
[UPDATE] Jeffery Nelson, Executive Director for Corporate Communications for Verizon just sent me this statement about the tiff with Google:
Our open development program is on track, capturing the imagination of developers who we expect will bring new devices and applications to the marketplace later this year. Any company committed to openness encourages this kind of innovation and competition.
Google’s filing has no legal basis. It’s really no surprise that despite not winning spectrum, they continue to try to change the rules and further their own business interests through the regulatory process. We expect to file at the Federal Communications Commission within the next several days on this matter.
Verizon Wireless – and all the other participants in the recent 700 MHz spectrum auction – understood the FCC’s rules for using that spectrum in advance of the auction. Of course we’ll abide by those rules. As we work to put the spectrum we won to good use, if Google or anybody else has evidence that we aren’t playing by the rules, there are legitimate and expedited ways to address that.
Basically it sounds like Verizon is saying Google is experiencing sour grapes, which just might be the case. Until the handsets using the 700MHz spectrum from Verizon hit, we won’t know for sure if Google’s claim has any validity. We’ll keep it on the front burner till we know what’s going on.