Plans for ‘open’ telecoms networks could revolutionise the US market

12 Jul 2007

The US government is considering new rules for a major auction for wireless spectrum designed to create an ‘open network’, free of the rules and regulations normally imposed by telecoms operators. The proposal could, in principle, transform the domestic wireless and broadband markets and comes in the wake of calls by the likes of Google and other new technology companies to free up spectrum and reduce the dominance of traditional telecoms carriers. ‘Whoever wins this spectrum has to provide truly open broadband network, one that will open the door to a lot of innovative services for consumers,’ said Kevin Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. In an interview with USA Today, went on to describe the draft rules under review noting that under the plans being discussed: ‘You [could] use any wireless device and download any mobile broadband application, with no restriction.’ The FCC intends to auction the 700MHz band of frequencies, currently being freed up by the conversion of US television from analogue to digital, sometime before the end of January 2008. The auction is expected to attract interest from a number of bidders as the frequency on offer is ideal for providing broadband and has a longer reach than Wi-Fi. The FCC is expected to deliver a final decision on the draft rules over the summer. The auction itself could raise as much as USD15 billion for US government coffers.

United States