Open spectrum is why the iPhone will fail

Summary:Free the bits and we'll have progress. We'll have the iPhone, we'll have 10, 20, 50 megabit per second downloads, we'll have all the innovation you could ever want. Keep them imprisoned and we'll remain stuck in the past, while other nations go rocketing ahead of us on the wings of open source, and open spectrum.

Apple iPhone
Until Larry Dignan pointed it out, I had not realized just how busy we ZDNet bloggers had gotten in talking about the Apple iPhone.

It's hardware, it's proprietary, so I really planned on keeping my mouth shut about it. But there is one point I have decided to make, one related directly to this beat, which is the real reason I believe the iPhone will, at best, disappoint in the market.

Open spectrum. We don't have much, and we are nowhere near getting more.

That's why the iPhone will fail. It is tied to a proprietary network, that of AT&T, which doles out bandwidth with an eyedropper, and charges users out the wazoo for the privilege.

AT&T can do this because our political leaders, in this decade, have endorsed a telecom oligopoly in which it pays companies to restrict supplies, prevent choice, and treat consumers with utter contempt.

AT&T is not alone in this. All of the major cellular carriers are the same way. This despite repeated spectrum auctions in which scads of bandwidth have supposedly been made available.

There's no secret to what happened. Those auctions were gamed, by these same companies, so they could retain their positions in the market and so that competitors could be kept out. I don't blame them for that, it's what Bells do. I blame the government, but more than that I blame the voters and industry which let them do it.

As seen on TV, the iPhone downloads songs, videos, and scads of data with ease, and sports a great touchscreen user interface. But if you can't afford in a month to do what the commercial does in 30 seconds, are you going to even try?

Free the bits and we'll have progress. We'll have the iPhone, we'll have 10, 20, 50 megabit per second downloads, we'll have all the innovation you could ever want. Keep them imprisoned and we'll remain stuck in the past, while other nations go rocketing ahead of us on the wings of open source, and open spectrum.

If it takes the failure of the iPhone to get this through voters' heads, then it's a sacrifice well worth making.

End of rant.

Topics: iPhone, Mobility

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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