Google has announced that it will participate is a closely-watched auction of a portion of the wireless spectrum that will soon become available. This opens the possibility that the company could become a wireless service provider.
The Federal Communications Commission auction for a portion of the 700 MHz spectrum is drawing so much attention because it potentially will allow a company to build a nationwide wireless network… if it is willing to spend several billion dollars.
"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."
Schmidt is referring to a decision made by the FCC to require that whatever company bids the most on a specific portion of this spectrum — called the C Block — it has to be open to any mobile device running any software. It is this portion of the spectrum Google is expected to bid on.
The Android Factor
Google has not yet said what it intends to do with its wireless spectrum, if it ends up being the highest bidder. However, smartphones running the Android OS are likely to be involved somehow.
Android is a mobile operating system currently being put together by the Open Handset Alliance, with the project being spearheaded by Google.
More About the 700 MHz Auction
The 700 MHz spectrum that’s going up for auction January 24, 2008 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.
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