Verizon Open Access Is a State of Mind

LAS VEGAS -- VDC Conference 2011 -- Back in November of 2007 Verizon Wireless announced a "transformational" new program to let its customers use any device, software or application on its network, even if it wasn't offered by Verizon itself.

The carrier has since kept pretty quiet about the Open Access Program, to which it devoted a $20 million state-of-the-art testing lab, but Praveen Atreya, director of network technology and Verizon's LTE Innovation Center, says it is still alive and well. It is just more about procedures and certification than an actual program these days.

According to Larry Rau, director of technology applications ecosystem for Verizon, it does, however, serve a purpose: to spell out exactly how to get on the Verizon network.

When the initiative launched in 2007 Verizon was praised for sharing its 700MHz spectrum, but that quickly turned into skepticism when little progress was announced. But a Verizon spokeswoman says there have been several hundred devices certified through the program, including a mix of machine-to-machine, enterprise and consumer devices. The carrier lists 155 mostly enterprise devices on its site.

The program is one part of its open initiatives, alongside Open Development and its two Innovation Centers. Rau says that all three are there to promote collaboration and help companies get to market, as well as to explore new applications and devices for the network.

"It is the underlying foundation of a lot of programs," Atreya says. Or, as Rau explains it, "Look, we let you do it, and now we'll help you do it."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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