Update on iPhone Hearing

by: Matt Stoller

Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 23:32

There's lots and lots of stuff that happened over the last few days with regards to spectrum.  Apparently today in the hearing Dingell, who just bought an iPhone, got angry when he learned he's locked into AT&T.  Nothing is better for your position than when a Chair of a powerful House Committee gets mad on behalf of your position due to personal experience with a policy outcome, so it shouldn't surprise you that the hearing today was spectacular for our side.  Tim Karr has a good update.  The big news is Bush appointee FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's supposed embrace of some form of openness in the wireless spectrum.  It's entirely unclear to me what kind of game he's playing.  This post at Obsidian Wings has a very cynical but credible view, one Art Brodsky explains in simpler language.  And if you want a less cynical but very good explanation of all the dynamics, Harold Feld has a great post.

Basically, the gist is that Martin is making some tentative moves towards openness in devices, which is far from openness in the network itself.  But that is huge progress and much further than the smart money thought just a few months ago.  Rick Whitt at Google and Susan Crawford have more. 

I know this is a bit wonky, so I'm going to have Ben Scott stop by tomorrow to explain what happened.  His video generated around 3000 views, and was featured on Youtube, which is remarkable for a video blog of a lobbyist discussing telecom policy details for four minutes.

I'm honestly kind of stunned how much progress we've made.  The massive grassroots campaign to the FCC put this issue on the radar for the Commission and for Congress, leading to John Kerry's statement.  Both Google and Citigroup have played huge roles in this, as have a number of other large corporations, or so I'm told.  Lots of Republican Senators and House Commerce Committee members are fighting us publicly, and our Presidentials have been rather weak, with the significant exception of John Edwards. 

So to those who participated in this campaign, you are part of a massive coalition with large businesses, intellectuals like Tim Wu and Susan Crawford, public interest groups like Public Knowledge and Free Press, progressive companies like Working Assets, and advocacy groups like Moveon.  This is a multibillion dollar fight over the nature of democracy, and you're having a real impact.

This internet's pretty wild.  Stay tuned for some more Ben Scott tomorrow.

Matt Stoller :: Update on iPhone Hearing

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Harold Feld (0.00 / 0)
I had to do a double take at first, because I thought you said Harold Ford had a great post on this. That really caught me off guard.

Makes me feel sad that it wasn't Harold Ford, actually. I kind of liked the idea that he was blogging in favor of Net Neutrality. It is always nice to find ways to start building progressive bridges...

Ben Scott (0.00 / 0)
Ben Scott was amazing. He couldn't have explained it better. And I really look forward to hearing more from him! He speaks the truth!

Save the Internet - FCC Comments end MONDAY (0.00 / 0)
YES: They could end Net Neutrality now. And charge extra for you to visit your favorite sites, or your ISP could not allow you access at all.

If you like reading OpenLeft or your other favorites on the Internet, if you like blogs or researching  or looking at photos on your cousin Bob's website, please, take a moment and go to savetheinternet.com/yourstory and write a couple of sentences about why the internet is important to you.  They will forward your comment to the FCC.

re: iphone hearing (0.00 / 0)
No offense Stroller I normally like reading your posts but this one was all over the place.

For one thing I'm not sure what locked cell phones have to do with net neutrality. I don't see what this guy's iPhone being software locked into AT&T (due to a contractual agreement between them and apple)has to do with digital spectrum allocation either, but hey whatever helps get these guys on board with the interests of us consumers.

It would be great to see the 700mhz spectrum go to a group of competing internet service providers and I suppose that might benefit the cause of net neutrality. Any increase in competition among ISPs will be good for consumers.

One of my biggest complaints about how us Americans are getting the shaft is the lack of affordable and good quality high speed internet service providers. Many much less industrialized countries have much faster and cheaper internet service, and we invented the damn thing (and host the domain name servers). The way I see it anything that is bad for Comcast/Time-Warner/At&t/or whatever cable/phone companies that have basic monopolies on US broadband access is good for us.

End this war. Stop John McCain. Cindy McCain is filthy rich.

quick (0.00 / 0)
I wrote it quickly.  These issues are all intimately related, and it's really complicated stuff.

Hopefully Ben can clear this up.  I'm going to tape him in 5 minutes.

[ Parent ]
Kevin Martin Can't Be Trusted (0.00 / 0)
The guy is a master of positioning himself one way while actually politicking for the opposite position, so you can be certain that if he's suddenly advocating for open wireless, it can't be good for consumers.

The scuttlebutt for many moons now is that Martin has Senatorial or gubernatorial ambitions after he steps down from the FCC chairmanship, which explains his bizarre, almost schizophrenic approach to governance: Laissez-faire economics in almost every respect, especially when it comes to favoring telecoms, but Orwellian government control over television content: http://blogs.consume...

He's trying to play to the fundies and the corporates at the same time, thus the Kabuki. Don't fall for it.


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