Sound off: What do you think about the FCC's inquiry into wireless? Page 2

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Last week, the FCC voted to begin inquiries into innovation in the wireless industry, the state of competition in the "wireless ecosystem," and whether consumers have enough information about their mobile plans and bills. The five-member commission unanimously approved all three inquiries, but the decision to launch the probes produced a wide array of reactions. FierceWireless contacted a range of players--including carriers and public interest groups--to gauge their responses to the FCC's votes, and to determine how they plan to respond.

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What do you think of the FCC's inquiries? Did the commission take the right approach? And how will you work with the FCC?

Laurie Itkin, director of government affairs for Leap WirelessWe are encouraged that the FCC is taking seriously the need for examining a number of issues regarding competition within the wireless industry, including roaming. We will actively cooperate and participate in this inquiry." --Laurie Itkin, director of government affairs for Leap Wireless

Barbara Esbin, senior fellow and director of the center for communications and competition policy for The Progress & Freedom FoundationThe speed with which the newly reconstituted FCC under Chairman Genachowski has assembled and released these notices--two out of three adopted and released the same day--demonstrates both the high priority placed on wireless issues and a return to more regular and timely internal procedures at the agency.

While it is refreshing to find an FCC that appears to be first asking questions and later drawing conclusions, the proof of whether this FCC has returned to a ‘rule of law' based approach to its mission will come in the next phase of some of these proceedings. My concern is whether, should the FCC determine the need for regulatory action, it will remain within the bounds of the authority delegated to it by Congress. The FCC's statutory authority is broad, but not unlimited. The agency may be well within its rights to make inquiries concerning the development and dissemination of computer applications over mobile communications devices, but its statutory authority to directly regulate such ‘downstream' activities is far from evident.

Maximizing investment and innovation in the wireless sector are certainly the right goals, but these have traditionally been furthered by FCC actions that decreased regulatory burdens and thereby increased service provider flexibility. The FCC's record in moving from a "Mother-May-I" regulatory approach to a more flexible, market-oriented approach has brought us a wireless ecosystem marked by vibrant competition in nearly every regard. It is my expectation that the new 'relentlessly data-driven' FCC will, on balance, find that this approach has benefited consumers, competition, innovation and investment and will seek, to the greatest extent possible, to carry it forward." --Barbara Esbin, senior fellow and director of the center for communications and competition policy for The Progress & Freedom Foundation

CTIA and the wireless industry appreciate the opportunity to respond to the notices of inquiry and to provide the chairman and commissioners, as well as other policy-makers, with information on the status of the evolving wireless ecosystem. ... The wireless ecosystem--from carriers, to handset manufacturers, to network providers, to operating system providers to application developers--is evolving before our eyes and this is not the same market that it was even three years ago. In this industry, innovation is everywhere." --Steve Largent, president of CTIA

We very much look forward to educating the new chairman and FCC commissioners about the multi-billion dollar annual investments we continue to make in building the nation's most reliable wireless network. The Government Accountability Office this summer noted that the 84 percent of wireless customers are satisfied or very satisfied with their wireless service, and the FCC itself noted in its annual report that the U.S. wireless industry is highly competitive.

As we lead on the global front, focused on building a LTE ecosystem, we believe heightened collaboration with developers, applications innovators, consumer electronics companies, public officials, businesses and consumers is required. We are designing and building our 4G LTE network to bring tangible benefits in healthcare delivery, business productivity, environmental stewardship and education improvement--which requires significant and focused human and capital resources. At a time when our nation's economic outlook may seem grim, Verizon Wireless and the wireless sector of the high-tech industry are a shining beacon to the future." --Jeffrey Nelson, Verizon Wireless spokesman


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