Google Gives FCC Advice On Spectrum Auction

    May 22, 2007

Looks like Google’s out to save the world again; the search engine company, which claims it won’t bid in an upcoming radio spectrum auction, is nonetheless proposing a new way for the FCC to conduct the affair.  According to Google, its method would increase competition among telecom companies (and thus benefit consumers).

As The Next Net’s Eric Schonfeld noted, Google’s proposed auction process is “much like the one it uses to sell advertising via its AdWords.”  And as Google suggested that just 5% of the available radio spectrum is sometimes used, Schonfeld added, “That would certainly make for a more efficient use of the spectrum.”

The FCC may also respond well to Google’s suggestions.  “FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has expressed general support for initiatives that drive wider broadband penetration,” reported Corey Boyles of the Associated Press.  “In an interview Monday, he said he hadn’t yet seen the Google submission but would consider any proposal that accomplishes this goal.”

Of course, the telecoms are liable to object to Google’s interference, and some uninvolved bystanders may do the same – it is a little unnerving to have any company in a close dialogue with the government.  Blair Levin, a telecommunications analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, also told the AP that “questions exist about the economic viability of such a scheme.”

“For example,” Schonfeld writes, “he said a potential problem could arise if a bidder invests significantly in devices for the consumer market that would use spectrum but were then outbid in the auction.”

Yet all signs seem to indicate that Google’s proposal is looking forward.  Up next: Google begins working out a plan for peace in Iraq.