Open Spectrum Auction Backed by FCC Chairman

In a move that immediately gave AT&T and Verizon a case of bunching panties, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has announced that he is in favor of the Google-backed plan to require the 700MHz spectrum to stay open for any compatible device to use any service. This no doubt makes the group behind the open-source OpenMoko phone pleased as punch as they search for a market for the highly-hackable device. Consumer groups are calling for it to go one step further and become a truly wholesale network allowing multiple service providers to compete for business. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, however, is backing the Frontline plan to seize the spectrum to make a public safety network, essentially getting commercial operations in the band for free.

This news goes hand-in-hand with renewed Congressional pushes to require that cell phones be able to seamlessly move from provider to provider, the so-called "cellular Carterphone" regulation named after a ruling that wireline phone systems had to accept any outside device that did not interfere with operations. In conjunction with that are an increasing number of groups calling for the wildly popular iPhone to be unlocked so they can jump ship to other GSM providers.

With these rapid developments in the wireless world, it's not much surprise that San Francisco's City Council chose to delay voting on their high-profile wireless project until a future meeting. Maybe they're thinking it would be best to bide their time for the moment.

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