Google wants to keep ‘closed’ 700MHz network out of Verizon’s hands

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Google has asked the FCC to block the sale of the two C-blocks in the 700MHz spectrum to Verizon if it does not confirm that it will open part of the spectrum to all mobiles and applications.

This condition was imposed by the FCC in the 700MHz auction of the C-section. Google is not convinced that Verizon will comply, and bases its doubts on a letter from Verizon to FCC Secretary Marlene Dortch in September. It states that “the commission should not force C-block licensees to allow the download of any application on any licensee’s device, including devices that are not configured to run those applications.” Google wants the FCC to sell to Verizon blocks if this is not clear.

Under FCC auction rules, as the winner of the C-block, Verizon must open up one-third of the frequency spectrum to each cellphone and application. The above passage from Verizon’s letter could indicate that the company does want to retain the ability to block certain applications on self-published mobile phones.

Uncertainty about Verizon’s stance on open access and open applications is unfavorable for Google as it is working on Android, its own Linux-based mobile operating system. Open source applications can run on this and, according to Google, clarity from Verizon is now needed, because the development time of mobile phones and software applications is long.

Verizon announced the open development initiative in November 2007, whereby any device that meets the technical minimum requirements will be allowed on the existing mobile network. Despite this, the industry is not convinced of the goodwill of the telecom company. Verizon has tried to challenge the legality of the FCC restrictions in court, but without success.

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