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Wireless Industry Target of FCC Probe


GovernmentImagine this. You are in the wireless industry and you are on the verge of actually fulfilling all of the prophecies about your industry being the future of the Internet and communications in general. The smart phone is now becoming more the norm and the introduction of the iPhone has moved the growth along at an ever accelerating rate of speed. It looks like finally everything is falling into place. So could possibly slow you down now? Take one guess ….. that’s right …. the government.

Ah yes. What would a day in business be these days without the long arm of the government making sure that everyone plays by their rules rather than the rules that might stimulate a recovery? MediaPost tells us that the FCC has decided that the wireless industry needs to be looked into because, well, here’s their reasons.

After months of controversy surrounding wireless companies, the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to launch a wide-ranging probe of the wireless industry.

“We are transitioning from a voice-centric world to a world of ubiquitous, mobile Internet access,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “This transition promises to increase the pace of innovation and investment, but only if we have an open and competitive marketplace that gives every great idea a chance to make its way to consumers so that the best products or services win.”

So we are to assume that the same government that hands out money to big business who totally screwed the pooch in the financial sector will have the competitive best interests of all in mind? Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

The investigation, which could pave the way for new regulations, will encompass a variety of matters, including spectrum availability, wireless networks, devices, applications, and business practices. In addition, the FCC said it’s seeking comments about “how the public has used wireless services and technology to solve real-world problems in areas such as health care, energy, education, and public safety.”

Other concerns have been expressed about keeping net neutrality across the wireless spectrum. What advocacy groups are concerned about is pricing and roaming charges across networks etc. As long as the government doesn’t hinder our ability to actually use these services (and make the CHOICE to pay for them if we so wish) they can do what they want.

The US government is more of an M & A machine these days than an overseer. That’s not going to work in the wireless industry because it is growing and not dying. No saves need to be made here. Of course, there needs to be protections for consumers but at what cost? We are in the middle of an economic morass that has very few bright lights but the Internet and wireless services are among them. The last thing we need is the government coming in and making sure everything is working correctly. If that’s not the classic case of ‘those who can’t do teach’ then I don’t know what is.

So let’s here it Pilgrims. Where should the government be on the wireless industry? Will an FCC probe serve to accelerate growth and open up competition or will it grind things to a halt and stymie progress? I have to suspect that there are more than a few differing points of view out there so let’s solve the world’s wireless woes right here and now. Or we could just call it an early Friday and start the weekend? You make the call (but maybe on a landline so you won’t be ‘probed’).