Thursday, July 12, 2007

Redefining the “Cloud” (i.e., add wireless)? Too early to tell

So what of the news that the FCC will auction new spectrum under the condition that those who venture into the challenging space of building, maintaining and operating a network keep the last mile open to any device?

Well, for starters, if it comes to fruition this ruling could have a major impact on the wireless industry: more consumer power, less restrictions on proliferation of applications, less device fragmentation with better devices… and on and on. At last, a stride towards an open environment has been taken. Great.

However, while this ruling could result in something bigger than the Telecom Act of ’96, today it is still too early to tell what the real outcome will be. Fully aware of the threat that this poses to the them, the incumbent operators have already been busy at work in Washington for some time, and will continue to be until the fat lady sings. The lobbying (they have been at it since before Sergei and Larry were born) and staying power of the operators is not something to be underestimated.

Finally, even if this ruling were to be successfully implemented by the FCC, the incumbents not only have the deep pockets to compete in the bidding war with Google and co., or whomever. They will fight to the nail and teeth for they have much more to lose. They might even give Google a little bit of its own medicine: pay ludicrous amounts of money for the spectrum and do nothing with it simply to keep the competion out.

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