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CTIA: get open-access language out of stimulus package

Chris Ziegler

Included in the near-trillion dollar stimulus package kicking around Congress right now is a grand total of $6 billion earmarked for broadband initiatives, wireless included -- and while we're sure the CTIA's totally cool with that, there's some pesky language they'd rather not see. It seems any deployments undertaken with that taxpayer money must be done so with open access in mind, which -- let's be honest -- seems like a totally fair policy considering public cash is getting dropped into this, but CTIA prez Steve Largent thinks that it's "saddling the stimulus measure with an ambiguous government mandate that will deter providers from taking advantage of the grant program." In other words, carriers are going to take one look at the strings attached to the cash, turn, and run in the other direction. Open access (or the illusion thereof) seems to be working out alright for Verizon so far -- though we won't really know how that whole sitch plays out until the 700MHz spectrum goes live -- but either way, can't the CTIA see why the feds aren't interested in handing out a blank check here?

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