The iPhone has changed the face of computing by putting the Internet in the palm of your hand. While the iPhone is an amazing device, users of the iPhone and phones running Google’s Android operating system have been frustrated by a very limiting aspect of these top-of-the-line smart phones. While users pay for unlimited Internet access from these phones, they are unable to connect their notebooks to the phones for Internet access. Connecting a computer to the Internet through a cell phone is called tethering and is a technology that has been around for a while, over many cell phones. Software vendors have proved that It’s possible to tether to an iPhone and G-Phone as well, but tethering software has been banned by Apple and Google at the request of their cell phone service partners – AT&T and T-Mobile respectively. If you are an iPhone user and wish to connect your notebook PC to the Internet through AT&T, you’ll have to fork over $60 a month for an additional line and a connect card, bringing your monthly bill to $160 per month or more. This is why the carriers are requiring Apple and Google to block the ability to tether, they want customers to have to purchase a second line instead of sharing one between phone and PC.
Free Press, a national, nonpartisan organization that works to reform the media, is pressing the FCC to force wireless carriers to follow the same open Internet policy as landline networks. Landline networks, those that provide phone service over wires, are required by law to allow Internet services from other providers to use their network – even if the service competes with its own. So, for example, you might sign up for high speed DSL Internet from AOL which is delivered over your AT&T phone lines. If he FCC goes along with open Internet for wireless carriers, tethered connections, Internet phone services like Skype, and other Internet services will be allowed over wireless cell phone networks, dramatically impacting how cell phone carriers earn revenue and conduct business.
Google bans tethering app from Android Market? [c|net news]
Skype’s iPhone Limits Irk Some [NewsFacor]
AT&T To Try Selling Wireless Broadband Laptops [NewsFactor]
FCC Asked To Apply Open Internet Rule To Skype [NewsFactor]
Skype for iPhone Promises New Features [NYTimes]