iPhone center stage as FCC looks at wireless Internet

by Richard Koman, ZNet

Look for major action from the FCC against Apple/AT&T on the iPhone, as well as other exclusive wireless deals. USA Today reports that the FCC will discuss at its regular meeting Thursday a three-part probe:

  1. Wireless competition;
  2. Barriers to entry and investment
  3. consumer billing, including wireless contracts

The FCC is quite correct to take an aggressive stance here. The future of the Internet is wireless mobile devices, and that Internet is entirely locked by gatekeeping telecoms, proprietary technology, exclusive hardware deals and Draconian penalties. The status quo for the wireless net is wholly unacceptable.

Exhibit No. 1: the iPhone, which AT&T acknowledged in a letter (PDF) to the FCC is forbidden - by AT&T - from offering VoIP services. Exactly why Google Voice was blocked. And probably why Eric Schmidt had to leave the Apple board.

The FCC’s close look at the iPhone will “lead to bigger action,” Consumers Union says, while Free Press hailed the return of a “cop on the beat” of wireless consumers.

article originally published at ZNet.

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