According to reports from CBC News: U.S. Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin said Tuesday his organization was "taking a chance" last summer when it introduced rules designed to open the wireless industry for an upcoming spectrum license auction.
But Martin, speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, defended the FCC's decision to impose "open access" rules for the auction, saying it was what manufacturers and consumers told him they wanted when he attended last year's show.
The auction, scheduled to begin on Jan. 24, will sell off spectrum vacated when analogue television broadcasting is shut down in 2009.
The FCC imposed a number of open-access rules, with winners in the auction required to make all mobile phones, including those from rivals, work on their networks.
Martin said the industry response has been positive, citing Google Inc.'s creation of an open software platform for mobile handsets and Verizon Wireless's decision to open its network so that phones from other carriers will work on it by the end of 2008 as examples of increased openness.
"We've made tremendous progress over the last year, we've got a whole mantra of openness. People have recognized that's what consumers want, and that's a sign of success," Martin said.
Martin also confirmed that the February 2009 deadline for U.S. carriers to end over-the-air analog television broadcasts is a firm one, because auction participants will want to be sure before they bid that they will be able to use the spectrum on that date.