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FCC Considering Rules That Ban Open Firmware!

on Tue, 09/29/2015 - 5:46pm

The FCC is considering rules that would require manufacturers of Wifi-enabled equipment like routers, tablets, and even computers to lock them against installing alternative firmware and software.  Such locks would prevent the use of Open Source software like OpenWRT (which WasabiNet uses!), DD-WRT, and really anything other than what the equipment manufacters themselves choose to release.

Indeed, some wifi routers are already appearing on the market with locked firmware, since that is simply much cheaper for manufacturers to do, than attempt to follow the FCC's proposed regulation. (I.e. a chilling effect.) You can read more about this pending regulation at Prpl.worksArs TechnicaWired, and Libreplanet.  The motivation behind the FCC's proposed rules to is better address abuse of the Wifi spectrum, however the proposed rules would effect far more people than those who have been found to be misusing Wifi.

At any rate, we think these proposed rules are a really bad idea!  Besides WasabiNet, such regulation would also stifle innovation, tinkering, academic research, other community networking groups like Freifunk, and even grant-funded groups like the New America Foundation's OTI.

If you disagree with this pending regulation, you can file a comment to the FCC youself before October 9, 2015This page from Libreplanet offers more info and tips about filing comments.

Additionally, you can search previously filed comments to the FCC for reference (beware, link seems to go down periodically).