The last 24 hours have seen a chorus of calls to abolish the FCC. In the FCC's press release on Net Neutrality, they indicate that wireless networks deserve a lighter touch because the Android operating system is open.
Even Net Neutrality supporters are scratching their heads. How could the openness of one device operating system among many, which has nothing to do with how wireless networks are designed and operated, and nothing to do with wireless carriers' business models, decide what rules to apply or not apply to wireless carriers?
It looks like Verizon and Google have done a masterful job lobbying the FCC. From Engadget:
FCC: We didn't impose stricter net neutrality regulations on wireless because Android is open
Rest assured that we're working on a full analysis of the FCC's major net neutrality decision today, but the Commission hasn't actually released the full text of the order yet, and we just came across something in the press release we wanted to break out: one of the specific reasons the FCC gives for regulating wireless broadband more lightly than wireline is the release of Android. Seriously -- the release says that only "measured steps" to regulating wireless are necessary because "open operating systems like Android" have been released, and that it wants to see how Verizon and other 700MHz spectrum winners handle the hotly-contested openness requirement when building out 4G. Here's the full quote:
Further, we recognize that there have been meaningful recent moves toward openness, including the introduction of open operating systems like Android. In addition, we anticipate soon seeing the effects on the market of the openness conditions we imposed on mobile providers that operate on upper 700 MHz C-Block spectrum, which includes Verizon Wireless, one of the largest mobile wireless carriers in the U.S.
In light of these considerations, we conclude it is appropriate to take measured steps at this time to protect the openness of the Internet when accessed through mobile broadband.
Now, we obviously love Android, and there's no doubt that Google's OS has been part of some wonderfully furious competition in the mobile space recently. But we're not sure any of that has anything to do with net neutrality -- it doesn't matter how open your OS is when you're stuck with a filtered and throttled connection, and it's a pretty huge stretch to think Android's openness (however you want to define it) has anything to do with network access itself...
I wonder what Microsoft and Apple think about this?