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Google Will Bid On Spectrum

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Google will bid in the upcoming 700MHz wireless spectrum auction, the company announced this morning. Run by the Federal Communications Commission, the auction is scheduled to begin on January 24, and could run until March.

Google Will Bid On Spectrum
Google Will Bid On Spectrum

The biggest players in the industry are expected to bid aggressively for spectrum, which because of the federal requirement that television broadcasters switch to digital transmissions is becoming available. The spectrum is said to be ideal for high-speed wireless broadband, especially because of its ability to penetrate walls.

Google has promised a minimum of $4.6 billion for "the C block" of spectrum, the auction reserve price, the winner of which will be required by the FCC to allow users to download any device to their wireless devices and attach any compatible device to the network.

Verizon originally sued to stop the requirement, but eventually withdrew their suit. Earlier this week, the company enacted a similar policy on its own in advance of an announcement to use fourth generation LTE technology for its next evolution of wireless services, which will come available approximately the same time as the 700MHz spectrum.

The LTE technology will also be used by rival AT&T, meaning that future Verizon and AT&T devices will be able transferable (at least one way, unless AT&T opens up, too.) AT&T may have bailed on the 700 MHz auction with its purchase of Aloha Partners’ chunk of spectrum $2.5 billion, effectively setting the price for available spectrum in the federal auction.

Significant pressure from Google is thought to be a key reason both telecommunications companies made such aggressive moves forward. Google’s presence in the auction ensures more competition and more open networks.

"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."

Google made the announcement this morning in advance of Monday’s application deadline, after which Google is forbidden to talk about the auction due to the FCC’s anti-collusion rules.

Google Will Bid On Spectrum
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