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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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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.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation
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