The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jen Howard, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x22 or (703) 517-6273

CTIA Removes Roadblock to Open Access


According to news reports, wireless industry trade association CTIA has dropped its legal challenge to the open access conditions imposed on a portion of the 700 MHz spectrum by the Federal Communications Commission. Earlier this year, Verizon Wireless paid $4.7 billion for the "C Block" -- one-third of the 700 MHz band considered "beachfront" spectrum -- on the condition that the new network will be open to all devices and applications.

Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, issued the following statement:

"The last impediment to good public policy has been cleared and the FCC can proceed full speed ahead. These rules set a new standard for open wireless networks -- a welcome sign of progress in what has historically been a closed-network industry.

"This remarkable turn of events demonstrates how skeptical we should be when trade associations cry wolf over policies that are obviously in the public interest. The wireless industry fought openness conditions in 700 MHz licenses tooth and nail and claimed the sky would fall if they were imposed. But when they realized that consumers actually want open networks and like the FCC's decision, some wireless companies started publicly using openness rhetoric.

"Now, quietly, CTIA has dropped its lawsuit and is walking away as if nothing happened and everyone always agreed that openness was grand. If they are relying on Washington's legendary amnesia to forget this hypocrisy, here is one public interest group that will not comply.

"CTIA's flip-flop -- coupled with the continued blocking and locking practices of the wireless networks -- reminds us that we need the FCC to remain a vigilant cop on the beat protecting consumers with clear, enforceable openness rules."

Free Press was created to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what's actually happening in their communities.

(202) 265-1490