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FCC Voting On Wireless Spectrum Today

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The Federal Communications Commission will lay down the ground rules for the 700MHz auction coming in 2008, as Google and a host of telcos watch.

FCC Voting On Wireless Spectrum Today
FCC Voting On Wireless Spectrum Today

It’s make or break time for some kind of wireless openness, whether it’s Google’s dream of wide open spaces in the spectrum, the walled garden of the telecoms, or a partly-open spectrum that would be a little improvement over what we have today, which is zero.

Lots of money will be in play, as Bloomberg cited one analyst who pegged a possible price tag for the spectrum at $15 billion.

There’s even more at stake for customers of wireless services. If the FCC mandates the auction winner needs to allow for certain openness of the spectrum, that should increase competition in pricing and service quality for high-speed wireless data transfer.

Should the FCC impose no restrictions, the winner can do whatever they want with the 700MHz spectrum, and make it as open or closed as they desire. Companies like Google and Skype owner eBay favor an open approach that allows them to market wireless services on the spectrum.

Since Verizon’s CEO Ivan Seidenberg complained in the Bloomberg report about the possibility of “unnecessary restrictions” the FCC could impose, it’s pretty clear how the telcos will handle the issue of open access if they win. A suitable metaphor would make reference to the watertight aspects of a duck’s backside.

FCC Voting On Wireless Spectrum Today
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