The Federal Communications Commission has set the date it will hold a closely watched auction for a soon to be available portion of the wireless spectrum, and Google’s CEO has said his company will probably still take part.
The auction for a portion of the 700 MHz spectrum is drawing lots of attention because it potentially will allow a company to build a nationwide wireless network… if it is willing to bid enough money. Google might be, as it has said it was willing to start the bidding at $4.6 billion.
However, the company said it would only be interested in bidding if the FCC would agree to certain rules for what companies must do with any portion of this spectrum they get licenses for. Google wanted companies to be required to let consumers use any device and run any application that uses this spectrum. It also wanted companies that win the auction be required to sub-lease portions of their spectrum to competitors.
A few weeks ago, the FCC said it wouldn’t agree to all of these conditions; nevertheless, Google head Eric Schmidt said earlier this week that its likely his company will take part in the 700 MHz auction when it takes place on January 16, 2008.
Google has not yet said what it intends to do with its wireless spectrum, if it ends up being the highest bidder. However, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that this company is in the process of developing a phone that can make voice calls and access the Web without requiring the user to pay a monthly service charge. This device may debut on Google’s own wireless network.
More About the 700 MHz Auction
The 700 MHz spectrum that’s going up for auction next year is currently being used by analog TV channels. All these have to go digital by February 19, 2009 though, freeing up this portion of the spectrum.
Anyone who has used an analogue TV should be aware that radio waves in this frequency range travel well over long distances and offer good penetration into buildings.