Oh, good, government intervention.
I shouldn't be sarcastic and skeptical - theoretically speaking, nothing but good could come out of this for consumers, right?
The Federal Communications Commission issued a notice of inquiry as part of a congressionally mandated annual assessment of the industry, which is dominated by Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc, Sprint Nextel Corp and T-Mobile, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG ... The inquiry comes as the FCC is examining exclusive deals between handset makers and carriers, such the one making AT&T the sole U.S. service provider for Apple Inc's popular iPhone.
FCC head Julius "Don't Call Me Orange" Genachowski (pictured above) says he's interested in how consumers are affected by various comptitive practices in the industry. Part of the inquiry will supposedly deal with the claim that consumers on smaller regional carriers don't have access to the latest innovations in wireless products and services because the regional carriers can't compete with the big four national brands.
Details regarding what, exactly will be investigated haven't been disclosed. So, you know, we'll have to wait and see. Maybe Google is behind this, as a result of the Google Voice/Apple/AT&T mess. Maybe Apple is behind this, hoping the Feds will declare their AT&T iPhone exclusivity contract unfair and void it, opening the door for a Verizon iPhone. Maybe our elected officials are behind this, because they actually care about consumers. Who knows? Hopefully we'll find out soon.
The inquiry could also serve as a springboard into further, similar inquiries into the cable and broadband industries, amongst others.