At the Ref Desk (1/16/19): Today's funny: Got an IM from a student asking who to contact for an overdue book. I texted him the phone number for Access Services. Student replied back that he'd call once his class was over. Um, right. [more...]

Net Cemetery : Comcast, the biggest threat to free speech since Nixon.

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 10/25/09 (12:47am)
Pub Date: 

As Timothy Wu of Columbia Law School puts it, a "battle royal [is] underway over what the norms of the wireless world will be--more open, like computers, or closed, like telephones." The FCC will have to decide whether we’re moving to a world where you can attach your mobile phone to any wireless network, the same way you hook up your telephone or computer. Will wireless providers have a duty, if they carry the Internet, to carry the whole thing, or can they pick and choose among companies that pay them more money, in the interest of providing a faster and smoother wireless experience? Apple, for example, has denied blocking Google Voice, the e-mail and phone management tool, but asserts the right to block applications that might threaten traffic management. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, he made clear that it wouldn’t be open to all applications, to avoid viruses or huge demands for bandwidth that might threaten the user’s Internet experience. Google’s Android mobile operating system is based on the opposite model--an open platform for development, accessible to all hardware and software applications. "The big question is what steps the FCC is going to take to ensure that the competition between Google and Apple can continue," says Lawrence Lessig of Harvard Law School. "If the Google model of open competition is more compelling, then closed wireless providers like Apple will have to give way just like the closed Internet providers of the past, like CompuServe."