Verizon Wireless, a division of Verizon Communications (VZ), was unhappy with the way things were turning out for the 700 MHz auction and as such has decided to use the legal system to try and block the open-access provisions that were tacked onto the hotly debated auction by the Federal Communications Commission.
Verizon called the rules “arbitrary and capricious, unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law.” The legal action can be roughly translated into this: Verizon thinks it can outbid even Google, win the auction and basically lock out all open-access backers. Nice block-and-tackle move by a veteran of the Beltway who knows how to really work the system. Google (GOOG) isn’t thrilled about it, and has posted a fiery response on its Policy Blog.
Google was all set to bid for the spectrum:
The nation’s spectrum airwaves are not the birthright of any one company. They are a unique and valuable public resource that belong to all Americans. The FCC’s auction rules are designed to allow U.S. consumers — for the first time — to use their handsets with any network they desire, and download and use the lawful software applications of their choice.
I have not been a fan of the FCC plan either, but not because I don’t like more wireless broadband options. As I wrote earlier, “The lack of mandated wholesale access on this network makes it a non-starter from competitive perspective.”
Anyway, let’s see what Verizon comes back with in response to Google’s comments.