Google Will Apply to Participate in FCC Spectrum Auction

The official word from Google on the spectrum auction is hot off the presses – or email server as the case may be — Google Will Apply to Participate in FCC Spectrum Auction.

Here a summary from the press release they sent out today:

As part of the nationally mandated transition to digital television, the 700 MHz spectrum auction — which begins January 24, 2008 — will free up spectrum airwaves for more efficient wireless Internet service for consumers. Advocacy by public interest groups and Google earlier this year helped ensure that regardless of which bidders win a key portion of the spectrum up for auction (the so-called “C Block”), they will be required to allow their users to download any software application they want on their mobile device, and to use any mobile devices they would like on that wireless network. The winner must ensure these rights for consumers if the reserve price of $4.6 billion for the C Block is met at auction.

“We believe it’s important to put our money where our principles are,” said Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, Google. “Consumers deserve more competition and innovation than they have in today’s wireless world. No matter which bidder ultimately prevails, the real winners of this auction are American consumers who likely will see more choices than ever before in how they access the Internet.”

I think that Google is being a little modest about their role in persuading the FCC. In July they sent a laundry list of their requirements to the FCC, which the FCC obviously read.

Back in August I spoke with Mike O’Connor about the Broadband Spectrum – and we talked a little bit about Google’s interest.

Google themselves had made some announcements lately that helps readers understand their intention with the Spectrum. Just a couple of days ago, they announced Mobile Google Maps & Search, “which uses cell tower ID information to provide users with their approximate location, helping them determine where they are, what’s around them, and how to get there.” (It also allows Google to offer very targeted ads!)

About a month ago, they announced that a “broad alliance of leading technology and wireless companies today joined forces to announce the development of Android, the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices. Google Inc., T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm, Motorola and others have collaborated on the development of Android through the Open Handset Alliance, a multinational alliance of technology and mobile industry leaders.” This open platform will fit in well with the open applications, devices, service, and networks that Google suggested for the Spectrum auction requirements.

It will be great to see how this push towards openness will play out. It has clearly been a successful business plan for Internet-based companies such as Google who provide amazing access into their code. I think it has worked for them and has spawned new companies and innovation because it helps make Google become more ubiquitous and opens the door to others to be successful by making Google even more useful – the whole idea of the MashUp.

This entry was posted in FCC, Policy, Vendors, Wireless by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

5 thoughts on “Google Will Apply to Participate in FCC Spectrum Auction

  1. we have worked some with 700 spectrum and its worked great .With google no one knows what direction they will go as they have some partners going in each direction.By the time they are ready to deploy in the 700 there should be a good footprint anyway in the wireless market using other spectrums.

  2. Jamie,

    Thanks for the update. Here’s a short list from the fact sheet on the FCC site:

    The Spectrum Auction is scheduled to begin on 1/24/2008

    Permissible Operations:
    The 700 MHz Band licenses may be used for flexible fixed, mobile, and broadcast uses, including fixed and mobile wireless commercial services (including FDD- and TDD-based services); fixed and mobile wireless uses for private, internal radio needs; and mobile and other digital new broadcast operations. These uses may include two-way interactive, cellular, and mobile television broadcasting services.

    Thanks! Ann

  3. Pingback: Google Android « Blandin on Broadband

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