Google commits $4.6 billion to wireless-spectrum auction

Search giant announces it's participating in the Federal Communications Commission's upcoming wireless spectrum 700MHz band auction--but there's a catch.

Google wants to put its money where its mouth is...to the tune of at least $4.6 billion.

The search giant said Friday that it's willing to participate in the Federal Communications Commission's upcoming wireless spectrum 700MHz band auction and pay the minimum reserve of $4.6 billion.

But for Google to participate, there's a catch. It's requiring the FCC to adopt all four of its licensing recommendations, no matter who ultimately wins the bidding process.

Google has also been pressing the FCC to reserve a portion of that spectrum to be used primarily, or exclusively, for broadband communications. The Internet giant wants "open access" rules, fearing that without them, only a few powerful companies, such as telecommunications and cable providers, will become the permanent guardians of the airwaves.

Google wants the FCC to agree to its four "open" platform recommendations, which include: open applications for users; open devices that will work with whichever network provider customers choose; open services that would allow for third-party resellers to acquire wireless services on a wholesale basis; and open networks, which would allow third parties, such as Internet service providers, to interconnect at any feasible point within the 700MHz licensee's wireless network.

Google better bring a big bidder's paddle to the auction.

 

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