Verizon opens up its network

Verizon sees openness as a differentiator. About time.

If nothing else, the threat of Google appears to have pushed Verizon into opening up its network to any device and any software, as the Wall Street Journal reports. The wireless industry has long thrown around the canard that it had to restrict access to protect its networks, but Verizon's move casts this policy into doubt and paves the way for the mobile Internet to become as big as the desktop Internet.

Of course, we still have the problem created by having different network standards in the US (CDMA, which Verizon uses, versus GSM, which AT&T uses, for example), but it's a great start:

The notion of openness in the U.S. is complicated by the country's disparate wireless networks. In Europe, cellphones roam seamlessly from network to network because all of them run under the same standard....

Verizon Wireless...said it will publish early next year technical standards for the development community, which are necessary for designing software, applications and devices that can run on its network. The carrier said that any device that meets the minimum technical standards will be activated on the network. It hopes to have new devices and applications available to customers by the end of next year.

This is a great start. Welcome to the open(ing) world, Verizon!

About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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