FCC cites Android ‘openness’ as reason for neutered ‘Net Neutrality’

“The FCC in voting for its net neutrality rules cited Android as a reason for softening the conditions for wireless neutrality,” Electronista reports. “‘We recognize that there have been meaningful recent moves toward openness, including the introduction of open operating systems like Android,’ FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said. ‘In addition, we anticipate soon seeing the effects on the market of the openness conditions we imposed on mobile providers that operate on upper 700 MHz C-Block spectrum, which includes Verizon Wireless, one of the largest mobile wireless carriers in the U.S.'”

“The connection is tenuous as Verizon has already exploited the openness of Android to ban certain features and block apps, often in direct contravention of the no-blocking rule instituted today,” Electronista reports. “It prevents Skype from using legitimate VoIP calls on 3G and, on some phones, blocks Google search widgets from running or even being installed in favor of Bing.”

Read more in the full article here.

Nilay Patel writes for Engadget, “We’re not sure any of that has anything to do with net neutrality — it doesn’t matter how open your OS is when you’re stuck with a filtered and throttled connection, and it’s a pretty huge stretch to think Android’s openness (however you want to define it) has anything to do with network access itself. And let’s not forget that the primary proponent of the 700MHz open-access rules was Google, which promptly flip-flopped on the issue when it became Verizon’s policy BFF after the Droid launch — if we were slightly more paranoid, we’d be pretty sure there’s a link between the FCC’s Android mention and the combined furious lobbying of Google and Verizon. Nice try, boys — but how about you make with the actual rules now?”

Full article here.

John Fund writes for The Wall Street Journal, “The Federal Communications Commission’s new ‘net neutrality’ rules, passed on a partisan 3-2 vote yesterday, represent a huge win for a slick lobbying campaign run by liberal activist groups and foundations. The losers are likely to be consumers who will see innovation and investment chilled by regulations that treat the Internet like a public utility.”

“There’s little evidence the public is demanding these rules, which purport to stop the non-problem of phone and cable companies blocking access to websites and interfering with Internet traffic. Over 300 House and Senate members have signed a letter opposing FCC Internet regulation, and there will undoubtedly be even less support in the next Congress,” Fund writes. “Yet President Obama, long an ardent backer of net neutrality, is ignoring both Congress and adverse court rulings, especially by a federal appeals court in April that the agency doesn’t have the power to enforce net neutrality. He is seeking to impose his will on the Internet through the executive branch.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “Net Neutrality” seems to have been bastardized. The term is now a misnomer. In fact, at least according to Fund’s article, it may have always been nothing more than a means to an end; a “solution” in search of a “problem” or, worse yet, perhaps a “problem” concocted in order to arrive at a specific “solution” that’s really designed to “remedy” something else entirely. It’s so convoluted right now, it’s hard to know what to think; perhaps this too is by design?

Or, maybe, this “Net Neutrality” is a wonderful thing and the FCC, Google, and Verizon are just looking out for our best interests, angels that they are?

Somehow we doubt it.

“Here’s the dirty little secret about Android: After all the work Apple did to get AT&T to relinquish device control for the iPhone and all the great efforts Google made to get the FCC and the U.S. telecoms to agree to open access rules as part of the 700 MHz auction, Android is taking all of those gains and handing the power back to the telecoms… By some reports, the Open Handset Alliance is in now shambles. Members such as HTC have gone off and added lots of their own software and customizations to their Android devices without contributing any code back to the Alliance. Motorola and Samsung have begun taking the same approach. The collaborative spirit is gone — if it ever existed at all. And, Google is proving to be a poor shepherd for the wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing that make up the telecoms and the handset makers in the Alliance… As a result, we now have a situation where the U.S. telecoms are reconsolidating their power and putting customers at a disadvantage. And, their empowering factor is Android. The carriers and handset makers can do anything they want with it. Unfortunately, that now includes loading lots of their own crapware onto these Android devices, using marketing schemes that confuse buyers (see the Samsung Galaxy S), and nickle-and-diming customers with added fees to run certain apps such as tethering, GPS navigation, and mobile video.” – Jason Hiner, TechRepublic, August 23, 2010

They shake your hand and they smile
And they buy you a drink
They say we’ll be your friends
We’ll stick with you till the end
Ah but everybody’s only
Looking out for themselves
And you say well who can you trust
I’ll tell you it’s just
Nobody else’s money

Money changes everything
Money changes everything

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

48 Comments

  1. I hate the way this has gone, but for AAPL it plays right into their hands. Soon people realize the favor Apple did for them and will be seen as the best solution for avoiding the crapware and nickel & dime approach of the other carriers.

    The carriers will rebel at some point because the iPhone will take their more lucrative sucker market away from them, then Apple will launch their own network and kick all these aholes to the curb.

  2. Oh yeah, there’s a platform to bank on.

    The FCC is a huge disappointment and Andy Rubin gave them the false hope that by simply calling Android “open” there is hope that even under the massive weight of all the cable companies, if a platform like Android can flourish, then the public can rest assured they will have access to a free and open internet.

    Bullshit!

    Android is hardly a barometer with which to gauge the robustness of the wireless market!

  3. This is regulation that is undefined. It is being promulgated by an agency against the will of thelegislative body that has the real authority. There is zero public demand or interest served by this.

    What this is is very simple – an authoritarian Federal government seeking to increase its power in a completely arbitrary way. It is Chicago thug politics dressed up with fancy techno regulator talk. It is anti-individual freedom. Freedom lovers of all viewpoints should be fighting this naked power grab.

  4. How do you equate an “Open” operating system with carriers and ISPs not affecting net-neutrality? Great, your operating system is open, you can install or modifiy it. But your ISP or wireless carrier just want more money from you, so they come up with new ways of charging for different “kinds of data” or the different webpages that you visit. What will keep them from doing something like that? The goodness of their heart? Give me a break!

  5. They want to silence free speech because their socialist shit doesn’t sell (Air America, MSNBC, etc.).

    This is ultimately an attempt to revive the Fairness Doctrine in order to mute or attempt to drown out wildly successful political media like Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Beck, Hannity, etc.

    Thankfully, there are still people who can see through these nasty machinations.

  6. In the same manner our financial institutions drove the country into a ditch, the telecoms and cable companies will do the same for the interwebs.

    Trust us, they’ll say to the government, and then it’s everyman for himself. In twenty-years, two or three companies will own every onramp to the internet. Once your on it, you’ll be free to move about well enough, however, the price of admission will be reserved for those who have money. Anyone making minimum wage won’t be able to afford the internet.

    Most of you Apple fanatics voted for that socialist so now you’ve got to live with it !!!

    That is so unfair and you know it.

    Socialism – the rich taking care of the poor.

    Capitalism – the poor taking care of the rich.

    Either way, it sucks to be poor. You must be living large Greg M.

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