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Tech Industry

Deadline passes for 700MHz spectrum applications

Google, Cox, Frontline Wireless, and AT&T all plan to participate in the auction, but we won't know if that's the definitive list for some time.

Monday was the deadline to submit applications for a chance to bid on the 700MHz spectrum auction scheduled for January, and the lineup is taking shape.

Google, Cox Communications, Frontline Wireless, and AT&T all appear to have submitted an application Monday for a chance to bid on the spectrum, which is set to be freed up with the Federal Communication Commission's decision to move everyone to digital television in 2009. The 700MHz band is sought by companies that wish to build wireless voice and data networks, and is probably the last time for a while that such a chunk of spectrum will be up for grabs.

The deadline for applications was 6 p.m. ET Monday. Google, of course, announced its intention last week. A representative for Frontline Wireless contacted CNET to confirm that it, along with a consortium of partners such as former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale and Kleiner Perkins VC John Doerr, would be bidding on the spectrum in hopes of creating an open-access network that would also double as a public-safety network. IDG News Service reported on Monday that AT&T planned on bidding, but a representative reached after the deadline said he was unable to comment on the auction, citing FCC confidentiality rules. Cable Digital News reported Cox would be involved, but a company representative did not return a call seeking comment.

Under the rules of the auction, companies do not have to announce their intent to bid, but at some point their involvement might become public as the FCC publishes information related to the auction. An FCC representative did not return an e-mail seeking an explanation of the rules, but a PDF copy with tons of detail can be found here.

A Verizon representative declined to comment to IDG News Service on her company's plans, despite flying the "openness" flag as high as possible last week. Time Warner Cable and Comcast confirmed that they would not be applying to bid on the spectrum, and a Sprint representative was also quoted saying his company was not going to participate. It's still quite possible that other companies applied, however, and we may not know the full roster for a few weeks.