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Monday, 3 August 2009

FCC lays into Apple over Google Voice

Whilst not about fibre, the FCC furore about the iPhone app for Google voice has interesting connotations for next gen access...

It still appears to be unknown whether it was Apple or AT & T who insisted that the Google Voice app was rejected, but the FCC are endeavouring to find out.

The problem is that as far as users are concerned, the Google Voice app was pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. But for mobile operators, and particularly those with whom Apple has done a deal to be the carriers tied to the iPhone, having an app that suddenly turns their network into a dumb pipe and threatens their core business, is a No-no. (Or does it threaten their business? Benoit has argued otherwise.

The point is though that whatever solutions we seek for #digitalbritain, we need to understand tha sea change that is occurring at consumer level. Disruptive devices are here to stay. A mobile phone is no longer for making calls on - it can be, for many, their device to connect to the internet, and just as net neutrality insists that ISPs can't be allowed to dictate what we can and cannot access in the wired world, so is the same true in the wireless and mobile world.

Not only at a supplier level do we need open access to the middle mile to encourage innovation and competition, but users/consumers/citizens need open access in the first mile (even the first inch) to connect whatever device they wish to, wherever they choose to, to do whatever they choose to.

Trying to be both service and content provider to maximise revenues may well take out those ambitious (or foolish?) enough to try it. For many in the next generation, a dumb pipe may be enough, and there are always going to be those who focus on a single aspect of the telecoms business, such as providing a fat pipe, and aim for excellence with their product, and hence gain market share.

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