Powerful Democratic Congressman Ed Markey is holding a hearing on Wednesday titled 'Wireless Innovation and Consumer Protection'. But really, the hearing should be titled 'the iPhone Hearing', because that's what this is about. The launch of the iPhone is not just a consumer landmark, it's a significant moment in internet politics. Working Assets has already pointed this out with an action campaign, and their CEO Michael Kieschnick has a thoughtful post on the reactionary nature of the iPhone's locked in contract with AT&T.
Rather than explaining the situation myself, I'm going to turn to an expert, Ben Scott, the policy director for Free Press. Ben's a public interest lobbyist, and someone who has taught me a tremendous amount about telecom policy. Right now, there are a few confluent events that are inspiring a lot of debate around the public airwaves, and it all hinges on the iPhone and its immense significance.
I taped Ben's explanation of the situation in his office earlier today.
If you enjoyed this video, I'll try to tape other lobbyists and organizers in DC representing our interests. And don't forget to send a message to the FCC.
UPDATE: There's a potentially very important story out on the 700 spectrum auction, the massive airwaves being auctioned off this summer. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is reportedly circulating rules that would force an open wireless network for the spectrum being sold off. If this is true, and I'm working to verify the story with some sources, it means a number of things. Well first and foremost, it means that we took an unexpected big step towards an open internet. Two, our grassroots pressure, combined with the business pressure, really showed regulators that there was a hunger for a different type of communications structure, and they are responsive. Three, someone must have convinced Kevin Martin that an open network is a profitable and sustainable model for business operators. Once again, I'm working to verify this, but it could be a very big deal.