Skype official calls out carriers on "open" networks

In a strongly-worded letter to the FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Skype official complained that the major U.S. wireless carriers were all talk when it came to "open" networks, and that if the Commission wanted to live up to its stated goal of making open networks more accessible, it would affirm that this policy covers wireless networks.

Christopher Libertelli, Skype's senior director of government and regulatory affairs for North America, said that last week at the CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment conference in San Francisco, the major U.S. carriers paid lip service to the idea of open networks, but strongly cautioned that too much choice would lead to chaos, and damage the viability of their business model.

Libertelli stated that, "The attitude of the wireless carriers was perhaps best summed up in Sprint Nextel Corp. CEO Dan Hesse's recent comment: 'The big Internet can be daunting... There can be too much choice.' This stands in stark contrast to the Commission's wise policies designed to promote as much consumer choice as possible."

He said Skype was mindful of the challenges wireless carriers faced in moving to an open network. But he also said it was not enough to simply talk about open networks.

"Consumer choice, competition and free markets, not carriers acting to block competition, should win the day in wireless--now, not later," he said. "If the Commission believed that the transition to more open networks was going to proceed quickly, statements out of CTIA's convention suggest just the opposite."

"Openness" was a major theme of the conference in San Francisco, and the first keynote session included Sprint Nextel's Hesse as well T-Mobile USA's CEO Robert Dotson and Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam speaking about what "open" meant to their companies.

For more:
- see the letter

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