Back in July, the FCC issued its final set of rules for the upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction, giving both open access proponents and telecoms a bit of what they wanted. The FCC decided to support two of the open access principles—open devices and open applications—but they neglected to open up the underlying networks by requiring the spectrum winner to resell its bandwidth in the wholesale market.
Unhappy with the requirements, however, Verizon has asked a federal court to overturn FCC’s open-access rules
, calling them "arbitrary and capricious, unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law." Google, a potential bidder in the auction, is critical of Verizon's lawsuit:
"It's regrettable that Verizon has decided to use the court system to try to prevent consumers from having any choice of innovative services," wrote Chris Sacca, Google's head of special initiatives. "Once again, it is American consumers who lose from these tactics."
The auction is currently scheduled to begin on January 16, 2008 and the stakes are growing by the day. If Verizon succeeds in overturning the open-access rules, then Google will likely bow out of the auction. We’ll have to wait and see where this goes.