Here’s a great run-down by Ben Scott of the non-profit group Free Press of what’s wrong with the iPhone from a public policy perspective. (Recorded by Matt Stoller.) For those who can’t spare the time to watch Ben’s cogent 5 minute explanation, here’s the rundown:
- Consumer Choice: The iPhone locks consumers into one telephone company, AT&T. Consumers shouldn’t be forced into a single wireless provider if they want to use a particular device, anymore than the cable company can’t force you to use a certain brand of TV to watch their programming.
- An Open Internet: Wireless devices like the iPhone will be where the next battle over an open internet will be fought. Some providers purposely cripple wifi capability on their devices because they want you to use their more expensive data plan. Wireless providers will have a lot of lee way in determining what kind of content and applications you can use on your device, whether it’s video, VOIP or IM.
- The Public Airwaves: Congress and the FCC will be debating soon how to allocate a slice of the electromagnetic spectrum called the 700Mhz band that could make available a whole new level of wireless access for Americans. But without public involvement, this bandwidth will likely just be sold off to the cabal of telecoms who control internet access now. Next gen devices like the iPhone should be able to connect to the fastest, cheapest wireless networks possible in an open and competitive framework.
Head to savetheinternet.com/airwaves to add your voice to the thousands calling for an open internet, a fair system for using the public’s airwaves, and a competitive environment for next gen digital devices like the iPhone. And read up on the Congressional hearings on the iPhone that happened yesterday, where members of Congress called for a more open, fair wireless market.