Print 26 comment(s) - last by shamgar03.. on Aug 2 at 9:58 AM

Search giant will bid if FCC can insure an open platform.

If the FCC can ensure an open platform, Google has promised to bid at least $4.6 billion on the FCC’s upcoming 700 MHz auction, according to a Friday press release.Google specified requirements in a prior letter to the FCC on July 9th, detailing what Google feels are appropriate, enforceable rules regarding the FCC’s vaguely defined open access principles.

“While these all are positive steps, unfortunately the current draft order falls short of including the four tailored and enforceable conditions, with meaningful implementation deadlines, that consumer groups, other companies, and Google have sought,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt writes. “In short, when Americans can use the software and handsets of their choice, over open and competitive networks, they win.”

Google’s insistence on its four requirements further expands FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s open-access rules. The FCC has not voted on open-access rules yet, which Martin first proposed earlier this month. Closed devices like the iPhone and locked cell phones, which prevent users from taking the phones to different networks, are the root of such concerns. Martin wants users to be able to “use any wireless device and download any mobile broadband application, with no restrictions.”

Currently, mobile technologies readily available in other parts of the world are only now making it to the United States.

“I am concerned that we are seeing some innovations being rolled out more slowly here than we are in other parts of the world,” said Martin in an interview with USA Today.

Technologies such as WiFi on cell phones, a feature readily available in Europe and other parts of the world, have been suppressed by wireless carriers in the United States as such services allow them to circumvent the services that they provide.

Google’s four requirements define an open wireless network and explicitly specify the applications, devices and networks remain free of the kinds of restrictions found on today’s existing wireless offerings. An important fourth requirement and the source of much discussion is Google’s “open services” clause, which specifies, “third parties (resellers) should be able to acquire wireless services from a 700 MHz licensee on a wholesale basis,” paving the way for resellers and value-added services.

The auction for the 700 MHz spectrum, vacated by TV as it moves to the digital realm, will take place in January 2008 and carries a minimum reserve of $4.6 billion.

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Sounds familiar...
By Rotkiv on 7/22/2007 6:29:24 AM , Rating: 1
I am all for this big plan, but the last time a large corporation(if I can call Google that) that called for deregulation in a market that is vital for the economy, bad stuff happened. I am thinking of Enron...

RE: Sounds familiar...
By bob661 on 7/22/2007 3:47:03 PM , Rating: 2
It wasn't deregulation with Enron it was greed.

RE: Sounds familiar...
By Oregonian2 on 7/23/2007 2:00:38 PM , Rating: 2
And AFAIK it wasn't "Enron" per se, but the bad people running the company (vast majority of the people comprising Enron weren't involved AFAIK).

RE: Sounds familiar...
By B on 7/22/2007 4:17:33 PM , Rating: 5
Enron had leadership problems that were mutually exclusive of the deregulation. The deregulation allowed Enron to maliciously exploit a loophole drafted into the deregulation to there benefit.

The California legislature drafted terrible legislation that only partially deregulated the market. Enron was a wholesaler and PG&E was the reseller. Enron was able to charge a the deregulated market price for electricity from PG&E. PG&E could only charge its retail customers a regulated price, even if that meant buying electricity from Enron and selling it to its customers at a loss. Thus, pricing disparity and ensuing crisis was created by a partially deregulated market. Admittedly, even this explanation is a major simplification of a complex and multifaceted problem.

Anyways, look no further than deregulation of air travel, trucking, phone service, and rail freight for prime examples of how deregulation has been beneficial. Remember when you had to lease the "Princess" phone from AT&T?

Airfares, schedules, and routes were deregulated in 1978. A 20-year decline in fares has continued under deregulation. -Source: Consumer Reports

Phone equipment was fully deregulated in 1984; long distance was partially deregulated in 1984, local service in 1996. Per-minute rates have plummeted, in large part because of regulated cuts. -Source: Consumer Reports

Note that Consumer Reports argues that customer service has declined. I'll take crappy customer service any day over not being able to be connected to my family because I couldn't afford it otherwise.

To conclude, with the thoughtful and careful execution of deregulation, consumers can reap a windfall of benefits.

RE: Sounds familiar...
By TomCorelis on 7/22/2007 6:07:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but in those deregulated industries that you mentioned, there were, at the time, a number of providers that could hold each other in check. The landscape now is far different... a handful of large telcos gobbling each other up. What do you do when the you're staring down the face of a deregulated oligopoly with rediculous lobbying power?

RE: Sounds familiar...
By hadifa on 7/22/2007 8:34:02 PM , Rating: 3
What do you do when the you're staring down the face of a deregulated oligopoly with rediculous lobbying power?

Bury my head in the sand and pretend all is alright! Isn't that what the majority does most of the time?

RE: Sounds familiar...
By TomCorelis on 7/23/2007 3:55:20 AM , Rating: 2
Sadly, yes. :-(

RE: Sounds familiar...
By B on 7/22/2007 9:05:10 PM , Rating: 2
Good question. AT&T was broken up into the baby bells. AT&T sold off its cellular division. This cellular division was later purchased by Cingular. AT&T has now been acquired by SBC and SBC has re-branded itself as AT&T. The new AT&T has now bought Cingular. AT&T has nearly come full circle. Arguably, it seems that AT&T could become a microcosm following the power cycle discussed in George Orwell's Animal Farm.

Forbe's Magazine had an interesting article by Scott Woolley about the cellular oligopoly that currently exists in the United States. Specifically, handset features are sabotaged and your phone can't seamlessly slip over to wifi for data or VOIP purposes. The article suggests that T-Mobile will be offering new nationwide plans that support a "turbo" mode that will allow your phone to slip onto wifi. While on wifi your calls and internet browsing will be free.

I plan on giving Verizon Wireless, their Pixplace, and their "Red" interface the finger. I will get one of T-Mobiles new plans. Thats how I will deal with the wireless phone oligopoly.

RE: Sounds familiar...
By TomCorelis on 7/23/2007 3:53:44 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure that I agree with your stance regarding T-Mobile's WiFi feature, especially since there's a number of model phones available in Europe (and the US, I believe the Cingular 8125/8525 aka rebranded HTC Wizard/Hermes?) that list that as a capability. T-Mobile's selling you a service that, with the right phone, you can get for free in more civilized cellular markets...smells like abuse of oligopoly power to me :-)

RE: Sounds familiar...
By B on 7/23/2007 11:19:52 PM , Rating: 2
Clearly, you are well informed on wireless headsets and plans. Perhaps, if you feel there is sufficient interest, you should do a blog entry or a comparative analysis on the most wireless plans and headsets. It may be a bit presumptuous, but I suspect Anandtech and Dailytech readers would enjoy this.

RE: Sounds familiar...
By Cygni on 7/23/2007 11:32:59 AM , Rating: 2
This ISNT deregulation, its INCREASED regulation. Currently the wireless carriers would be able to do whatever they wanted with the chunk of wireless spectrum they purchased... including locking it off, and hurting consumers. What Google is purposing is to enforce new rules on the companies that are bidding for this spectrum. Hence: Increased regulation.

RE: Sounds familiar...
By shamgar03 on 8/2/2007 9:54:37 AM , Rating: 2
Well increased regulation to force decreased regulation by phone companies (who vastly restrict the devices that can be used on their network)

Good For Google... Good For Us
By alifbaa on 7/21/2007 9:14:18 PM , Rating: 5
I know Google is not above controversy, especially with its actions in China. I must say, though, that they do really seem to put a focus on developing their business in a way that genuinely improves people's lives. I'd be willing to bet that every other company interested in placing a bid is putting every dime they can into politicians' pockets to make this open system less open. Google is doing the opposite, and the prospects for how this will turn out if they succeed are exciting.

It would certainly be nice to have a cell phone and carrier that were truly innovative instead of just well marketed.

RE: Good For Google... Good For Us
By Gul Westfale on 7/21/2007 9:20:12 PM , Rating: 2
yes, and flat rate access at a low cost for all calls would be nice too... but even google has to make money somehow, and i'm not sure i'd like to get random ad-calls on my phone :)

RE: Good For Google... Good For Us
By Wagnbat on 7/21/2007 10:01:14 PM , Rating: 2
Or more googlish, ads on your cell phone, that are based and presented on your conversation. You call dominoes, a pizza hut coupon pops up... A family member is in the hospital, a 1-800-Flowers ad pops up.

Targetted marketing based on open spectrum freedom. I say that's a fair trade. Doesn't anyone NOT use google, because of the targetted link-ads they provide? IMHO, they're some of the most un-obtrusive ads on the internet, which says a lot about their business style and ethic.

RE: Good For Google... Good For Us
By SunAngel on 7/21/2007 10:01:32 PM , Rating: 2
your exactly right! and $4.6B is just the reserve. regardless of the purchase price, who ever wins the spectrum is looking to double/triple/... their investment. as with all open source projects (assuming google wins) if they can create a product that will truely revolutionize a lifestyle, the rewards are going to be huge.

i'm not sure how long a service should be in beta stage, but google seems to hold the record for the most feature rich, mass-appealing services held in beta.

RE: Good For Google... Good For Us
By Spacy on 7/21/2007 10:03:14 PM , Rating: 2
What Google is doing is something that first made America great :)Developing a place that many companies can use to reach the maximum number of people at lowest cost. The lower the cost to start into a market the more people can jump in to help develop that market. This is contrary to what we have now, being many small networks, were people try to develop the same thing for many closed standards. It costs more to develop one thing for many separate and incompatible groups then one large group. Closed standards are great but not to the point were everyone is isolated and costs for developing for a small group is high.

I cheer for Google helping to broaden our markets :)

By killerroach on 7/22/2007 1:44:20 AM , Rating: 2
This isn't intended as cell phone spectrum... this range of spectrum in question is largely talked about for use with wireless Internet access. That being said, the applications of a use-anywhere, hyper-competitive Internet infrastructure is certainly drool-worthy.

Meanwhile, the incumbent telecoms are spreading a lot of FUD about this open access proposal... some have tried to claim that this proposal is being advocated by left-wing special interests (which isn't exactly accurate). While Google's proposal is relatively radical in terms of telecommunications regulation, I think that, at this point, I'd rather err on the side of Google than on the side of Verizon in this issue. This isn't pure "open access", it's advocating a market allocation of property rights with very flexible terms and conditions, which I'm all for.

My .02 Cents
By Kinyo on 7/22/2007 7:29:53 AM , Rating: 1
I am all for what google wants.

In my opinion I think of it like this: Take Google Earth for example, it is open source. You can watch the discovery channel's show "Best Places To Find Cash And Treasures" - go to their website - download a small patch - and have a Google Earth View and Discription of every place that is featured on the show - and it becomes a permanent part of the Google Earth program, unless you delete the update that is.

This will be a revolution in any case if google gets the spectrum. I wouldn't mind buying something such as a VOIP cell phone from google if they offered one - browse the net, make calls on the CHEAP! And ads, I'm not to worried about ads, as most of you shouldn't be.

Walk into a Starbucks and log onto the net using their WiFi and you get their ad on the home page - big deal! No one complains about it!

That is my .02cents - what do you think?

(I just hope that AT&T or another big company tries to take it from under google and lock the service at high prices to save them from being forced to make cell phones cheaper, and the plans even CHEAPER!)

RE: My .02 Cents
By Kinyo on 7/22/2007 7:34:17 AM , Rating: 2
(edit - the bottome I meant " I just hope they DONT try to take it!! ")

RE: My .02 Cents
By JediSmurf on 7/22/2007 11:26:41 AM , Rating: 2
2 hundredths of a cent? Don't worry we know what you mean, and I agree!

RE: My .02 Cents
By shamgar03 on 8/2/2007 9:58:20 AM , Rating: 2
Google Earth isn't open source, it just an API that people want to use. Basically you can add stuff to it. That is completely different from open source where a piece of software can be changed and redistributed at will.

I agree though that google, in this case really does have the best in mind. They want to buy the spectrum to use it which would be a change of pace from the wireless companies.

Speaking of Cents
By TimberJon on 7/23/2007 12:54:03 PM , Rating: 2
Boy how I wish that I could siphon off a 100th of a cent into my bank account from every customer the wireless companies have.

RE: Speaking of Cents
By KristopherKubicki on 7/24/2007 12:14:23 AM , Rating: 2
Wasn't that in Superman 3?

And Office Space?!?!

RE: Speaking of Cents
By azrael201 on 7/24/2007 10:18:28 AM , Rating: 2
and hackers i think

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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