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.