Verizon Wireless Challenges FCC Over Open Access

Verizon Wireless has filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals against the FCC, to challenge open-access rules attached to the upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction.

The open-access requirements are mandated for 22MHz worth of the licenses that are up for grabs in the January auction, under an FCC decision made last month. Essentially, this means that the winner of those licenses must make the network open to any device and provide unfettered access to third-party applications, which would eliminate carrier exclusivity deals and on-deck portal strategies. This has sparked an outcry from walled garden enthusiasts like Verizon Wireless and other cellcos, but AT&T Inc. surprisingly has embraced the open-access plan.

Bigwigs like Google Inc. and Skype lobbied heavily for the open-access rules, and Google has said it would pony up the $4.6 billion the FCC is asking as a minimum for the 22MHz swath of spectrum. If the spectrum fails to command the $4.6 billion, the open-access requirements will disappear.

None of the parties involved have elected to comment on the proceedings.

Verizon Wireless

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