[...] Steve Jobs is eyeing a piece of the spectrum we fought for earlier this year and helped set partially free.
The company has $14B in cash (reserve price for the spectrum is $4.6B), is looking for a way to get around the carriers, and likes to control the user experience from end-to-end. Certainly it must annoy Jobs to no end that his beautiful products must operate on such a shitty set of networks. Apple may even partner with Google; Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO, is on the Apple board. I don't know if Apple will make their network open; certainly it's less certain to do so than Google, though probably more likely to do so than, say, Verizon.
Still, it's probable that several Silicon Valley companies will bid, including but not limited to Google. Should one of them win the spectrum and build out an open network, this increases dramatically the changes of an overall win on net neutrality. Once we get real competition in wireless broadband, game set match for the worst of the cable and telecom nonsense. We'll still have a lot of work to do, but the darkest scenarios will never come to pass.
After all, net neutrality is really just a regulatory solution to a lack of competition in broadband markets. If you introduce real competition, there's less of a problem with net neutrality anymore. Art Brodsky in his latest amazing column compared the choices you get in this country, which usually boils down to two providers at most, such as Verizon or Comcast, to the choices you get in a country like England that has a sane policy of 'open access' for its internet infrastructure.
Trust Apple, trust Google. Somehow I don't think "treating all packets equally" is the same thing as having four monster providers vying to control your content every step of the way, but I'm just a civilian. More when I read Brodsky's amazing column. (In a few years I hope you'll come visit me on the "slow lane.")