Wireless Oligopoly Is Smother of Invention

Long notorious for crippling their phones and strangling app
developers who wanted access to their devices, the carriers have
loosened their policies, since AT&T made its fateful deal with
Apple, which ripped control of the device out of AT&T’s hands.

The result showed to the world how the wireless industry had
purposely crippled cell phones to boost their bottom lines, customers be

Now, the FCC, which is mulling more official net-neutrality rules,
has the chance to finish the job Apple started, but couldn’t bring
itself to finish — removing the carriers stranglehold over mobile

Unfortunately, the idea of setting basic, common carrier ground rules
— rules that simply lay out what freedoms we all expect — are somehow
being twisted into the government taking control of the internet. (In
which case, we must be living in a Communist country because the
proposal is simple.)

Require the nation’s wireless carriers to publish the specs they use
on their networks, so that any device maker can make a device that works
on any network or all the networks. Then require the carriers to offer
service, with published limits, to any customer, using any compliant
device, at a fair price. Subscribers would have the right to use more
than one device, or at the very least, switch them with minimal effort.
Those devices could run whatever software they like, so long as they
don’t harm the network.

That should be the requirement for the carriers who are using the
public’s spectrum. —Ryan Singel, Wired

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