Feeds

US wireless strategy attracts flak

New body resists increased state regulation

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The CTIA, the body representing the US wireless industry, is so concerned by the possible negative effects of increased state regulation on its members, that it has formed a separate organization, with its own funding and budget, to lobby against additional burdens, particularly in respect of taxation. It plans to spend “tens of millions of dollars over the next three years” on the new advocacy group, to be headed by Kimberly Kuo.

One tactic will be to finance local consumer groups to fight state and local regulations. The body is also lobbying at federal level for a consistent approach to tax on wireless services across the whole US.

CTIA president Steve Largent said his body would “try to turn the tide of state telecommunications regulation, including state taxation of wireless services, in the coming months”. The increasing state moves to regulate and tax wireless is at odds with the federal policy of stimulating new services and threatens th “competitive foundation of the wireless industry”, he added, speaking in a press briefing this week.

He argued that cellcos need capital to invest in 3G and other technologies on a nationwide basis and so benefit consumers, and that the greatest threat to this was a growing state tax burden.

Others would argue that the states are over friendly to the telcos, especially when it comes to municipal Wi-Fi hotspots, which a string of state legislatures have effectively outlawed or severely restricted under pressure from the large operators, which see subsidized internet access as unfair competition.

Most recently, a new telecoms bill in Indiana threatens to block municipal Wi-Fi networks in the state should it become law. The bill would make it very easy for incumbent telcos in the state to stop municipal deployments, and is even more restrictive than recent measures in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Indiana House Bill No. 1148 passed at the behest of the large carriers and contains no provisions allowing municipalities to provide services in the case of customers being overcharged by existing carriers. The new law also makes it illegal for a municipality to roll out better services than those offered by the carriers, even if they are cheaper. All the carrier has to do to prevent a municipality from offering broadband service is to tell the state authorities that, within nine months, it would be offering a similar service, without any repercussions if they fail to deliver on their promise or any minimum coverage requirements.

Intel, always eager to stimulate the spread of Wi-Fi, has turned its own impressive lobbying power on this issue, and said this week that it will work to prevent legislation that prohibits or limits creation of wireless networks by municipalities. Sean Maloney, head of Intel's Communications Group, told the Wireless Communications Alliance conference in San Jose that Intel would work to get municipalities and telcos to cooperate on developing wireless access instead of being adversarial.

"There's been what we call a fairly disturbing trend as cities prepare to unwire themselves and there's been an adversarial role between the public and private sectors," said a spokesperson. “Sean was saying that a public-private partnership is the way to encourage broadband growth that will benefit everybody. It'll take various shapes but one example will be where a government figures out what it wants and opens up bidding. Then, a companies like Verizon and Sprint can compete for the contract."

Copyright © 2004, Wireless Watch

Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here.

Related stories

Make-or-break year for WiMAX
Super 3G group flexes its muscles
FCC to auction three 3G bands from June 06

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?