Mobile Operators Want Anything That Might Force Them To Compete... Taken Out Of Stimulus Bill

from the hey,-your-policy-goal-chocolate-is-in-my-government-handout-peanut-butter dept

As debate over the massive economic stimulus bill continues, the trade group representing US mobile operators has weighed in, with its head, former-NFL-star-turned-congressman-turned-shill Steve Largent, saying that unless open-access rules are removed from the broadband section of the bill, carriers will be "hesitant to participate". News to Steve: the stimulus bill, and this section, aren't necessarily intended merely to further line the pockets of incumbent mobile operators. While he thinks open-access rules "will deter providers from taking advantage of the grant program," one would have to imagine that if incumbents sat on the sidelines, plenty of new entrants would be more than willing to open their businesses to the government support and use it to craft new mobile broadband networks that would provide some much-needed competition in the space. Furthermore, such open access requirements didn't stop Verizon from shelling out several billion dollars for spectrum licenses last year. It seems that the CTIA loves it some stimulus -- as long as it doesn't stimulate any potential competition for its members.


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  1.  
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    :Lobo Santo, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 9:55am

    Damn Straight!

    "Mo fo' ME" is the corporate motto.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 9:59am

    Play to be Paid

    If they don't want to be part of the stimulus then F'em. More for the competition.

     

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  3.  
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    Michael B, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 10:00am

    So, Don't Give 'em Any Money

    If the mobile providers don't like open access, fine... and down the line, when they are crying for a government bailout (Sprint will be the first) just say "Who are you?".

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 10:44am

    So... if we don't take out the rules that make them compete, then they won't take our money...? How is this not win/win for us? Either they compete for our money, or they make it on their own. If they think they can make it on their own (Hesitant to participate! Ha!) then they didn't need our money to begin with. And if they do need it, i'm sure they'll play by whatever rules we give them.

     

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  5.  
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    Overcast, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    Yeah, well then they shouldn't "participate" and STFU

     

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  6.  
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    Rick, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 10:53am

    Who Cares

    I'm glad they might not participate. the large carriers don't service the areas this is intended to stimulate anyway. They simply ignore any area with less than 5,000 people living in it.

    These areas are typically served by small operators and those are who we should be supporting, not Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner and AT&T. I'm sure none of the small rural phone and cable companies are going to complain one bit to having help building out their networks.

     

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  7.  
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    Joe, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 11:05am

    I am excited now

    As long as they dont' change this part of the program i can't wait. I'm so sick of providers not competing with eachother on price (with a few small exceptions) and how badly the consumer gets steam rolled by these providers for a services that can't nearly cost what they ask in price.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 11:08am

    Re: I am excited now

    Just as a point, cost isn't the only driving factor in determining price. There's also profit and demand, and you can't complain about (a reasonable amount of) profit -- everyone has to make a living. But yeah, you're generally right.

     

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  9.  
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    NormD, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 11:24am

    The idea that a $6B "investment" from the government is going to create competitors to the major carriers is just plain stupid.

    ATT alone spent $20B in capital in 2008! And this does not even take into account that government spending always comes with strings attached that make it far less useful than private spending

    What the $6B will create is tiny companies that service small areas that are unprofitable for the majors to cover. These companies will have to charge outrageous fees especially if they have to provide "open access" which will drive their operating costs up.

    When the government funding dries up, the companies will fold.

    What a CF

    I have no association with any carrier.

     

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  10.  
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    Clueby4, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 11:40am

    Universal Service Fund ?!?!? WTF

    What about the frelling Universal Service Fund, which IIRC the GAO discovered was quite corrupted. Or the cash from Telcom Act for that matter.

    I certainly feel that businesses that require the use of PUBLIC & PRIVATE resources (spectrum licenseright of way) in order to operate should be REQUIRED to provide a some form of compensation for it's use. However, given the abysmal performance of the USF and the telcom act mega pork I think this is yet another hollow requirement and Mr Largent is just playing his role for effect.

    Most people fail to observe that companies that exploit right of way and exclusive access to the spectrum don't compensate appropriately. Yes, there's money flowing, however it's not being allocated appropriately. Just look at the wireless spectrum auctions, where the hell did that money go, like most money the government gets there hands on; no one knows.

     

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  11.  
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    Nick, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 1:27pm

    I don't see what the big problem is. All they did was say that *IF* there is congestion that they would prioritize real-time traffic over non-real time traffic.

    So *IF* the tubes get clogged, then they've implemented as system so that your VoIP will continue to work properly so you can use the phone, and your web browsing will still work properly (the primary use of such a connection). Anything else simply gets prioritized down - not blocked.

    How is this, in any way, a problem? All they're doing is making sure the network continues to work well for applications that are congestion sensitive!

     

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  12.  
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    Iron Chef, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 2:55pm

    Kicking out the wireless ladder

    I thought I was done with TechDirt. Wow. Look at me.

    Sounds like a good deal for those who have embraced Open Access. The rub for Steve must comes from how it benefits those offering service without contractual agreements. (This is mentioned in the Bible Reference to Matt 5:36–37, in his Wikipedia Article)

    But, I like Matt, and will stick up for The Book of Matthew. Additionally, I think there's a lot in Matt 15:26 to be learned from.

    Understanding this, every industry goes through iterations of growth, maturity, and bust. I've come to learn that this is the natural set of events. So let's assume wireless is a 20-some odd year-old technology and gone through four technology iterations. Is it still a necessity for it to be contractually based?

    When you close home phone service or electric service, or water service, or gas service, or cable service, or internet service, and even if they had to dispatch five technicians out to your house, generally, your not hit with an early cancellation fee when you move.

    Now, consider wireless service as an extension of an existing utility. Often, the question asked is "Can it be considered a utility?"

    Well, yes. It's something that allows you to communicate via voice, internet, check and send email. It's ambiguous, and something you can do freely at home. Should it be a luxury? I think not, but I also welcome consenting opinion.

    But as time progresses, connectivity seems to be expected, much like how gas heating warms a building. Probably the best answer is to incent those who don't qualify as large-cap companies to create needed competition.

    Yes, perhaps it's time to kick out the ladder.

    As a side note, I enjoy Matt 15:27-28 much more. Perhaps Obama has Bible Scholars working for him.

     

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  13.  
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    anymouse, Jan 29th, 2009 @ 11:43am

    Missed an important step

    "What the $6B will create is tiny companies that service small areas that are unprofitable for the majors to cover. These companies will have to charge outrageous fees especially if they have to provide "open access" which will drive their operating costs up.
    When the government funding dries up, the companies will fold."

    THEN the incumbent will pick up the 6B of infrastructure that the government funded for a cool $500M without any of the 'stimulus strings' attached....

    You just have to know how the game is played, they don't care who's getting the money because they know that they will be buying them up for pennies on the dollar within a year or so (whenever the subsidy dries up).

     

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