It is Time to Mandate Tower Sharing

by Colin Berkshire

It’s time for the FCC to mandate that any customer can use any tower. It’s time to mandate cross-company roaming. It’s time to put service quality first.

The process is strikingly simple: A consumer should be allowed to use whatever tower provides the fastest, strongest signal. Any tower. After all, the airwaves are a public resource.

The math to do this isn’t complicated. Any user can use any tower.

AT&T customers on version towers would cancel out Verizon customers on AT&T towers. Count the gigabytes each way and most of it would just cancel out. Then, you keep track of the differences.

The FCC would then institute a settlement process to pay the tower companies for where they carried more than their net-fair-share of traffic. So if ATT->Verizon traffic was 1-Million gigabytes and if Verizon->ATT traffic was 1.1-Million gigabytes, then Verizon would owe ATT for 0.1 Million gigabytes at a fair, prescribed rate.

This is no different than how we handled the settlement process for long distance in the 1940s through 1980s.

It would encourage companies owning bandwidth to use it, and to construct towers, because they could tip the scales and make a profit by handling calls.

Did you know that AT&T and Verizon own vast swaths of bandwidth that they don’t use, and that they don’t plan on using? They purchased it simply to eliminate competition. Now, that is wrong. It’s just plain wrong.

It is time to mandate shared towers.