Skype Communications sent another letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin yesterday taking issue over the definition of “open” wireless networks.
Part of the issue revolves around comments made by wireless service provider executives at the CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment show in San Francisco last month. Skype Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs Christopher Libertelli did not attend the show, but based on a press report, he raised questions to the FCC shortly after the show about carriers’ dedication to openness.
In response, CTIA sent a letter to the FCC on Sept. 24 arguing that Libertelli mischaracterized the discussions about openness at the show, which drew 15,000 attendees. CTIA said if Libertelli had attended the show, he would have seen an increased level of openness both on the exhibit floor and at keynote speeches and during panels and educational sessions.
CTIA also pointed out that Libertelli’s complaints were ironic given that Michael Robertson, CEO of Gizmo5, has noted that his company cannot route calls to Skype users because Skype has a closed network.
Responding to CTIA’s letter and a separate filing by Sprint Nextel, Skype this week said Robertson is fundamentally wrong and confuses open networks with open platforms. “Skype is an open platform,” Libertelli wrote. “Anyone, anywhere on the planet can download Skype for free, and he or she will be able to use Skype.”
Skype’s beef is the wireless network operators block Skype and other applications that it says consumers want to access.
Libertelli suggested he might take CTIA up on its invitation to attend the next CTIA event in Las Vegas next April 1-3 – on one condition. “When a Skype user can legally call the chairman of the FCC on the mobile broadband networks of each of the top 3 wireless networks, we will know that their conduct is consistent with the consumer empowerment principles of the Internet Policy Statement,” Libertelli stated.