Skype: FCC inquiry is good

Fri, 08/28/2009 - 8:10am
Monica Alleven, Wireless Week

As you might expect, yesterday’s move by the Federal Communications Commission to open up a full-blown inquiry into the wireless industry was welcome news to Skype.

Skype has had a contentious history with the wireless industry. Last year, the company took issue with comments made by wireless industry executives at last fall’s CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment conference. Skype senior director of government and regulatory affairs Christopher Libertelli fired off a letter to then-FCC Chairman Kevin Martin raising questions about the industry’s “lip service” toward open networks.

Well, yesterday, Libertelli said the Commission’s Notice of Inquiry, under new Chairman Julius Genachowski’s leadership, is spot-on in terms of asking the right questions to maximize innovation across the ecosystem.

“Skype is confident that the Commission can improve on the existing levels of competition in wireless by enabling a new source of competition and innovation – from software companies – to drive demand for more affordable wireless broadband to more Americans,” he said. “We welcome this inquiry and look forward to working with the Commission to develop the right policies to maximize innovation and choice.”

Consumer groups were predictably happy, as well. Public Knowledge President and co-founder Gigi Sohn said the Commission took “exactly the right path” in its vote to look at all aspects of competition in wireless. “For too long, the appearance of competition among a few carriers has masked underlying anti-competitive industry practices ranging from consumer contracts to roaming agreements,” Sohn said.

Sohn also mentioned the group hopes that as part of the Commission’s ambitious agenda, it will act soon on a petition to declare that wireless carriers cannot block text messages or decline short codes based on the content of the message or short code.

More Broadband Direct 08/28/09:
•  Appeals Court kills cable caps
•  Comcast wraps up D3 rollout in Chicago footprint
•  Evolution Digital, Conax score CableCard qualification
•  DirecTV, TBS, TNT to put shows online
•  Comcast adds Universal Caller ID to Bay area
•  FCC votes for wireless probe
•  Skype: FCC inquiry is good
•  NCTA hires FCC veteran
•  Harmonic to demo three-screen technologies at IBC



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