FCC Chairman Says They Will Investigate Phone Unlocking Ban


As the law banning phone unlocking enters into another month, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told TechCrunch will investigate the DMCA decision. The FCC will work to find if the ban is harmful to the competitive nature of the industry and whether or not the executive branch has any authority to effect change.

The “ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said last night at a TechCrunch CrunchGov event at the sites headquarters.

The DMCA act, which became law at the end of January, prevents consumers from unlocking their phones without the permission of their carrier. Prior to the DMCA law, consumers could “unlock” their phones as they saw fit and switch carriers with little to no effort. A petition to bring the DMCA decision to the attention of the White House recently passed the necessary 100,000 signature mark. With that threshold crossed, the White House must formally respond to the petition and hopefully will express public support for the reversal of the DMCA decision.

Genachowski remains unsure what kind of authority the FCC will have, but if he determines the DMCA move is harmful to consumers, he can bring considerable leverage to bear in the hopes of quickly reversing the decision.

“It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones.”



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