Sunday, June 3, 2007

Free the spectrum, therefore free the network

This is a great point.  The wireless carriers get rich by using the public airwaves; why should they be able to do what AT&T and other companies did and block access to their network?  The Internet is a great success story in how much innovation in such a short period of time can come about from open access to myriad devices.  I also see wireless LANs as a success story as well with innovation with unlicensed spectrum, that may reveal how in the digital age, keeping the public from using their spectrum is not necessarily even technically required any longer and may be harming development of newer applications.  But the lawyers, such as those at AT&T Wireless where I used to work, who fought to control the spectrum and make it illegal for the public to use (since the mobile network lacked actual network security at the time), didn't think of such repercussions. 

Boing Boing: How the right to attach can keep spectrum free

From the article:
...any winner of the auction respect a rule that gives consumers the right to attach any safe device (meaning it does no harm) to the wireless network that uses that spectrum. It’s called the Cellular Carterfone rule, after a 1968 decision by the FCC in a case brought by a company called Carter Electronics that wanted to attach a shortwave radio to AT&T’s network. That decision resulted in the creation of the standard phone jack.

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