Skype's iPhone application has quickly climbed to the top of the ranks of free applications available for the smartphone since its launch on March 31. AT&T's refusal to allow the VoIP service to operate over its 3G network, however, has been panned by an open-internet advocacy group, Free Press. The group sent an open letter
to Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Copps
asking the FCC to examine wireless carriers' practice of blocking VoIP
applications over their networks.
The Skype App for the iPhone works over the phone's WiFi connection,
but will not work over AT&T's 3G data network. Free Press argues
in its letter that this violates the FCC's Internet Policy Statement and restricts competition and innovation for wireless broadband internet services. The letter requests that the FCC confirm that the Statement applies to wireless broadband providers and probe any possible violations of the Internet Policy Statement by wireless carriers.
Free Press argues that a clarification and investigation by the FCC is especially important after AT&T's announcement that it plans to sell netbooks bundled with wireless broadband subscriptions. The group suggests that rule clarity could help ensure the success of this infant industry.
Amy Schatz of the Wall Street Journal thinks that the letter will fall on sympathetic ears under the new administration. President Obama declared himself a proponent of net neutrality during the presidential campaign, and his choice for FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, also favors the policy.
See Also: Group asks FCC to probe iPhone Skype restrictions (Apple 2.0) FCC pressed on iPhone Skype , tethering apps (CNET News)