CHICAGO – The joke at the Federal Communications Commission used to be that you only needed to know a handful of letters to get by: AT&T, ABC, CBS and NBC.
Of course, that world is long gone, and now a different series of letters – the kind supplied by AT&T, Apple and Google to the FCC – are taking center stage, and those are the kind of letters that Bruce Gottlieb, chief counsel and senior legal advisor at the FCC, discussed at 4G World yesterday.
The three companies sent letters to the FCC in response to an FCC inquiry into the status of the Google Voice application – an application that, according to Apple, hasn’t exactly been rejected, but it hasn’t been accepted, either.
Not that long ago, the three companies didn’t have much to do with one another, Gottlieb noted. Google was the desktop search provider. Apple was a hardware and software company that was interested in becoming a music delivery service, and AT&T was a traditional operator just dipping a toe in wireless data.
Now all three are mobile broadband companies, and they’re all connected economically and technologically, sharing the same customers.
The relationship between the three companies might illustrate why the FCC is so interested in getting more people involved in its discussions about the future of the wireless industry. As part of its broad inquiry into wireless, the FCC is looking at “upstream” markets, like tower sites, and “downstream” markets, like devices and applications.
The FCC has been trying to involve a broader scope of the community as part of gathering ideas and comments. This fall, the FCC will continue to hold forums outside of Washington, D.C., the first one being Monday in Austin, Texas.
Gottlieb alluded to a comment that comes up consistently, at least among the wireless industry: the need for more spectrum. He said the FCC is looking at available spectrum and how to make sure all bands are put to their highest and best use.