Print 20 comment(s) - last by dever.. on Mar 26 at 3:06 PM

Google steps in to offer an alternative for "losers" of the FCC Auction 73

Last week the FCC's auction for the 700 MHz wireless spectrum ended with more than just a winner. The spectrum auction ended with bids totaling $19.592 billion.

Google's failure to win any of the spectrum surprised few analysts, at least compared to the company's ulterior motive of keeping the C-block of the 700 MHz spectrum open.  Even though the company lost its bid on the C-block, the company successfully lobbied for open access terms, meaning its future devices will work with the spectrum even if the user must pay an access fee.

Google is now moving on to the second item on its laundry list: "white space" between over-the-air digital television channels.

There are a number of heavy-handed tech companies, appropriately called the White Spaces Coalition, working together to deregulate and open access to new spectrums for wireless communication.  This includes Google, Microsoft, HP, Dell, Philips, Earthlink, Samsung and a few others who prefer to remain anonymous.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates personally petitioned to Congress for open access to these spectrums, traditionally used as padding between regulated radio signal blocks.

Google has announced a working model to deregulate the white space spectrums, which it will pitch to the FCC.

The designated white space falls between channels 2-51 within the radio frequencies currently used for analog and digital over-the-air television. Since there is a good amount of unused space on this part of the spectrum, specifically between 54 MHz and 698 MHz, White Spaces Coalition members propose this could instead be allocated for high speed broadband.

Google claims it developed technologies that will help the broadband internet access industry utilize these frequencies for high-speed internet services without interfering with devices such as wireless microphones and any other devices operating within that spectrum.

Of the 1040 licenses of the 700 MHz spectrum sold in FCC Auction 73, 69% went to companies planning to create broadband and wireless alternatives to existing infrastructure. 

No public member of the White Spaces Coalition won any of the Auction 73 spectrums, though members like Google were known to have bid. 

Google has petitioned American companies that it will provide schematics and information for those interested in freeing of the white space frequencies.

Unfortunately for Google and its friends, such call-to-arms may fall upon deaf ears.   Aside from the fact that the White Spaces Coalition consists of Auction 73 losers, a recent report alleges severe micromanagement at the FCC, which specifically details the futility of media reform lobbies

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Where does it go?
By bobloadmire on 3/25/2008 3:20:59 PM , Rating: 2
where does all of this bidding money actually go? im assuming the gov, but what do they do with it?

RE: Where does it go?
By Homerboy on 3/25/2008 3:27:52 PM , Rating: 3
Economic Stimulus checks!!!

RE: Where does it go?
By 16nm on 3/25/2008 4:47:48 PM , Rating: 5
And converter box coupons!

RE: Where does it go?
By ImSpartacus on 3/25/2008 6:31:40 PM , Rating: 1
Why exactly do we need those stupid converters anyway? There can't be that many people without digital TV hookups.

RE: Where does it go?
By AlexWade on 3/25/2008 9:03:24 PM , Rating: 1
Um, there is one right here. I refuse to pay for 70 or 150 or 300 channels when all but 5 are junk. I can get the Simpsons for free, the Daily Show and Colbert Report for free on-line, and my games on-line too. The Final 4 is free over the air.

I realize a lot of channels would go under with a la carte, but who would miss them anyway? Not I, not most people. Until the cable/satellite cartel, Viacom, Universal, and the other cable channel providers let me buy a la carte, I'm sticking with free. All I need is the pipe, as one senator called it, better known as high speed internet.

RE: Where does it go?
By roadrun777 on 3/25/2008 9:34:25 PM , Rating: 3
But.. But.. But they don't want you to be able to choose what you want to watch! The whole purpose of TV is to force feed your eyeballs complete garbage and shove enormous amount of ads for products you would never need or want into your head.

How dare the public ask for ala carte! HOW DARE THEM!
You will watch the garbage we show you and you will watch it at the exact time we specify and you will also enjoy every piece of crap commercial we use to interrupt our shows with!
We will introduce laws that will make criminals out of every man woman and child who doesn't watch our ads and if you record our show on any device at all we reserve the right to arrest your entire family and confiscate all your equipment!
Isn't America great?

RE: Where does it go?
By dever on 3/26/2008 3:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
To answer your question... yes, America is great.

RE: Where does it go?
By KristopherKubicki on 3/25/2008 3:29:08 PM , Rating: 2
It gets earmarked backed into the FCC, which in turn goes to covering funding and special projects. I believe the lion's share of the Auction 73 earnings will go to informing the public about the DTV transition.

RE: Where does it go?
By eman7613 on 3/25/2008 3:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
I was under the impression that the bulk of that had already been funded by comcast, including the coupon program?

RE: Where does it go?
By roadrun777 on 3/25/2008 9:27:11 PM , Rating: 1
I have serious doubts that it would cost billions to inform the public of digital tv transition.

If it does cost that much you can guarantee that the FCC will start a company up and back charge itself enormous amounts of money to do things that would normally cost a few hundred thousand, not billions.

Anyone remember those 2000$ hammers the space program bought?

You can bet that the money will disappear somewhere in a mound of complicated paperwork, and then be shredded right before a public investigation.

RE: Where does it go?
By JustTom on 3/26/2008 1:13:45 AM , Rating: 6
It gets earmarked backed into the FCC, which in turn goes to covering funding and special projects.

That would be wrong, the FY FCC budget is about $300M far less than $19B. The proceeds go to the US treasury.

The budget for DTV outreach is miniscule,it will be somewhere between $1.9M and $20M for FY2008 (Bush is pushing for the higher figure).

All this information is readily available from the FCC or the US congress.

By darkpaw on 3/25/2008 4:09:58 PM , Rating: 4
First, this is not likely to happen at all. If those spaces could be reliably used without causing problems, they'd be licensed. A lot of potential money is lost in these cases.

What is typical is Google trying to profit off actual service providers without doing anything themselves. I really hate to agree with the telecom's, but Google makes oodles of money without paying much in the way of infrastructre costs. If they really wanted to provide for a broadband method, they should have ponied up the money to buy the 700mhz block (its not like they didn't have the cash). Instead, they bid it up just high enough to get their proposed rules in place.

This sounds like just another attempt at Google making money using spectrum that other companies paid a ton of money to license.

By Etsp on 3/25/2008 4:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
First, this is not likely to happen at all. If those spaces could be reliably used without causing problems, they'd be licensed.
Let me put it into this perspective, if you have both Google and Microsoft backing the same thing, chances are that it is not only possible, but practical and profitable. Otherwise Microsoft wouldn't be caught dead working with Google...
Google makes oodles of money without paying much in the way of infrastructure costs.
Google has been buying up dark fiber for years...and I believe they are also investing in a undersea cable to link the west coast and Asia.

By darkpaw on 3/25/2008 4:51:04 PM , Rating: 2
I think you did miss my point on the first part. If it is feasible then it'll likely be licensed. Look how much money this last auction generated. If they could slice up existing spectrum into finer blocks without causing major issues that is a big potential windfall.

The problem is, my understanding at least is that the "white space" has already been included in the spectrums the existing broadcasters have paid for.

By roadrun777 on 3/25/2008 9:45:55 PM , Rating: 2
I think your wrong on this issue. It takes an enormous amount of red tape to get anything approved in the wireless arena.

There is a lot of spectrum that isn't licensed at all, for many varied reasons, and not all of them have to do with technology.

These spectrum that have been sold recently are already well defined and have been in use for quite some time now, so the legal framework is already there it just needs to be amended. Drawing up more legal and political support to section off and sell every last unused frequency would be an enormous task. One that may happen in the future, but I foresee a real battle in the future. Eventually "we the people" will have to fight for a chunk of free and clear spectrum that isn't regulated by wolves.

By glennpratt on 3/25/2008 5:09:52 PM , Rating: 2
I feel infrastructure is overpriced in the US. Wireless and wired, and it seems Google is working to change that (selfish of course, but thats their job).

All our telecom infrastructure relies on public property and spectrum, and I believe strongly that we have allowed too much of it to be controlled by too few companies (especially at the local level). IMO, Industries should have to work together to get access to spectrum and easements, not buy up all they can and sit on it. Most of us live with one or another telecom monopoly, which is unfortunate.

By roadrun777 on 3/25/2008 9:54:40 PM , Rating: 2
If you look up the word "monopoly" in a US dictionary you will find something like this :

Monopoly - A fictional word made up by Americans to describe a company that controls all access, assets, and financial transactions related to a domain which is legally controlled by one company or several smaller companies which operate under one management. An amendment passed in congress states that all use of the word monopoly will be stricken and removed from American legal system, as they are owned by the monopolies anyway.

freeing up "white space"
By kattanna on 3/25/2008 4:56:52 PM , Rating: 2
im just wondering how long till the term gets noticed by main stream media and some civil rights group starts protesting such a racist idea

RE: freeing up "white space"
By Etsp on 3/25/2008 5:16:27 PM , Rating: 2
That would be just as ridiculous if they start going up in arms about how we don't do any research into black LED's, just every other color in the visual spectrum(and combination thereof). Or a more realistic example, them going up in arms about Master/Slave designations on electrionic devices (sad but true{according to snopes at least})

RE: freeing up "white space"
By Necaradan666 on 3/25/2008 10:30:41 PM , Rating: 3
Like the way motherboards are now called mainboards etc. Damn political correctness

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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