Hey, why make expensive investments when the government will just give you access to your competitor's infrastructure?
Federal Communications Commission has decided to mandate data roaming by a 3-2 vote. Simply put, major carriers like AT&T and Verizon will be required to let you check your email and perform VoIP calls over their federally-licensed airwaves even if you're actually paying a regional carrier for your cellular coverage instead -- just as they've been required to do for voice and messaging since 2007. As you can imagine, Big Red and Ma Bell aren't exactly jumping for joy at the news, with both threatening to slow expansion into niche markets if they'll be forced to share their infrastructure. The victorious members of the FCC claim that this doesn't constitute common carriage because the big boys still get to negotiate "commercially reasonable" rates. Considering that two dissenting commissioners say that it is, indeed, common carriage, though, and thus beyond the powers granted to the FCC, we imagine we haven't heard the last of this debate.
By the way, the commercially reasonable rate piece is so much BS. I can say from experience that there is no such thing as a true price negotiation when one party is forced to make a deal. In one of my great moments in not reading the fine print, I signed a commercial lease with the National Park Service in which the fine print demanded that I buy the personal property used in that operation from the former tenant.
Well, you can imagine what happened. The contract said I had to buy it at a reasonable market price, but at the end of the day, if they guy insisted on selling me a pile of useless junk for $100,000, my negotiation options were limited because I could not just walk away. Just to really hammer the lesson home to me about being careful in such deals in the future, the former tenant really went the extra mile in taking advantage of the provision. He stripped out every good asset from the operation and shipped in every non-working piece of junk equipment he could find in his other operations -- after all, I seem to have given him an open-ended "put". Only his, shall we say, excessive creativity in the latter eventually saved me, as trying to sell property from other operations (there was even some old couches from someone's house sitting in the boat repair shed) was considered by the NPS to be a violation of the rules and they eventually released me from the requirement.