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FCC chairman supports Google's Open Handset Alliance

Chairman Kevin Martin is pleased that Google has established an alliance around its open mobile handset software Android.

Federal Communications Chairman Kevin Martin on Tuesday threw his support behind Google's Open Handset Alliance.

On Monday, Google officially unveiled Android, its new mobile phone software. It also announced the Open Handset Alliance. Thirty-four companies have said they will join the alliance, which will work on developing applications on the Android platform. Members of the alliance include mobile handset makers HTC and Motorola, mobile operators T-Mobile and Sprint-Nextel, and chipmaker Qualcomm.

It should come as little surprise that Martin would support the alliance. Earlier this year, he made open devices a requirement in the rules for the upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction, which are expected to get under way in January 2008. Essentially, the rules will require winners of the spectrum in certain slivers of the 700MHz to be required to allow any device to connect to the network.

"As I noted when we adopted open network rules for our upcoming spectrum auction, I continue to believe that more openness, at the network, device, or application level, helps foster innovation and enhances consumers' freedom and choice in purchasing wireless service," he said a statement.

Google, which lobbied for open access rules for the 700MHz rules, is planning on bidding on some of the spectrum licenses. Even if it doesn't win any of these licenses, the new Android software could put Google in a prime position to be one of the main suppliers of software to handset makers that could help them comply with the FCC requirement.