The FCC Plans To Investigate SMS Discrimination

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Today the FCC announced that it will be investigating recent reports of SMS discrimination among the U.S. carriers, and whether SMS is even covered under the non-descrimination portions of the telecom act. Rebtel, which offers low-cost VOIP options to mobile phone users via SMS short code, has filed a complaint after being turned down by Verizon, Alltel, and T-Mobile in requesting short-code SMS rights. Verizon publicly stated that it is against their policy to release short-codes to competing companies.

NARAL Pro-Choice America has also had a run-in with Verizon Wireless last year when the abortion-rights organization wanted access to provide supporters with SMS alerts. After a bit of national media attention, Verizon decided it would be OK to allow NARAL access.

At one point, I agree that the carriers, who have dished out plenty of cash building their networks, should have some level of control over who is allowed access, but at the same time, the FCC needs to make sure that these carriers don’t go beyond, creating silos that are difficult for smaller groups to use.

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