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Google Businesses The Internet Wireless Networking Government Hardware Politics

Google Set to Bid $4.6 Billion for Airwaves 156

Posted by Zonk
from the power-play dept.
Nrbelex writes "The Associated Press is reporting that Google has offered to bid at least $4.6 billion on wireless airwaves being auctioned off by the federal government, as long as certain conditions are met. 'The Internet search company wants the Federal Communications Commission to mandate that any winners lease a certain portion of the airwaves to other companies seeking to offer high-speed Internet and other services. Such a provision, Google argues, will give consumers — who traditionally get high-speed Internet access via cable or telephone lines — a third option for service.'" We discussed AT&T's objection to Google's acquisition of these airwaves last week; this article would seem to confirm Ma Bell's worst fears.
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Google Set to Bid $4.6 Billion for Airwaves

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Google plans on winning, and also wants the winners to be mandated to lease off part of what they win?

    Let me know if I read that wrong, but it sounds like Google is morally good.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      it sounds like Google is morally good.
      Even if they are not, I am just glad that by 2011 I would be able to get free from the likes of verizon, AT&T and comcast.

      Bring it on!!
  • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Friday July 20, 2007 @06:17PM (#19934041)
    Actually, as I submitted earlier today, AT&T has reversed it's previous stance, and broken ranks with the other major cellular providers, by endorsing FCC chairman Kevin Martin's plan to require open access to 22Mhz of the 60Mhz to be auctioned by the FCC in the 700Mhz band [rcrnews.com]. This statement prompted Verizon to reiterate their opposition to any open access requirements, and Google to state their wish that the entire 60Mhz be auctioned with open access requirements.

    Open access rules would require the auction winner to allow any compatible device to connect to their networks on the effected spectrum.
    • I know why we'd want it... but I don't undertsand it enough to know why Google would want it if they bought it.

      Why would you plunk down a few billion to buy rights to something you have to let everyone use? I'm sure I'm missing something fundamental
      • by ivan256 (17499) on Friday July 20, 2007 @06:39PM (#19934237)
        Companies would start offering mobile services like the offer web services now... And google would provide the ads for those services. Unlike now where the mobile offerings are largely captive networks.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20, 2007 @06:40PM (#19934241)
        Why would you plunk down a few billion to buy rights to something you have to let everyone use? I'm sure I'm missing something fundamental

        It's making more money by being less evil. If a single company held the spectrum and the equipment to access it, then either they have to be amazingly good at making products that everyone wants, or they cannot maximize their market share. Imagine if the only cellphone in existence was the iPhone. Would you pay $500 for it, or stick to a land line? Now imagine if Cingular only sold iPhones. Those other networks with more choice and cheaper phones suddenly look a lot more attractive, don't they?

        Google's position is just the realization of the fact that if they're going to compete against the existing phone companies, they'll make more money by letting anyone and everyone on board, rather than limiting it to a dozen or so devices.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          So they're basically buying a new market,and hoping to get enough other folks into to it to attract customers? Expensive and risky... but very cool.
          • So they're basically buying a new market,and hoping to get enough other folks into to it to attract customers? Expensive and risky

            Because there is demand for those airwaves, it isn't really risky. And if the buyer is required to offer those airwaves to others at wholesale prices, the price for the rights to those frequencies, won't be so high.

            Falcon
        • by rtb61 (674572)
          Or more likely it is just good marketing, put in a high but likely losing bid with conditions that wont be accepted but make yourself look good in the public eye. Of course the other telecoms will just want to shut it off because as it would just compete with their existing networks. The reality is google could just shut up, put in the winning bid and subsequently make it available under what ever conditions they choose, but the marketeers and just doing their typical job of marketeering.
      • Re:Why open access? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by sholden (12227) on Friday July 20, 2007 @06:50PM (#19934305) Homepage
        They want the requirement even if they don't win it, so they're saying we'll bid (and hence the final price might be higher) if you put this clause in the agreement. Google are not going to win the bidding anyway if $4.6 billion is their max bid...
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by frusengladje (990955)
          Actually, it seems to me that if Google gets their way, the telcos would be less interested in bidding, which might actually make the winning bid lower.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Myrcutio (1006333)
          Actually, 4.6 billion was their MINIMUM bid. and with pockets like theirs i wouldn't be surprised to see that number rise significantly.

          I'm rooting for google here, i like how they're playing this one.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by PPH (736903)
        I don't think open access equals free access. You can charge for the bandwidth, but not restrict access to a limited set of services. On the client end, as long as the client complies with your protocol specifications, there are no restrictions on the applications build on them.
      • Re:Why open access? (Score:5, Informative)

        by tkrotchko (124118) * on Friday July 20, 2007 @08:39PM (#19934875) Homepage
        Google wants it because their services are delivered via the last mile from Verion, Comcast, AT&T, and a few other that essentially controlling Google's destiny. It's related to network neutrality, but only slightly.

        Ultimately Google knows that a handful of ISPs control the entire consumer network, and they're trying to poke holes in it to give themselves and others a shot at competing.
      • I know why we'd want it... but I don't undertsand it enough to know why Google would want it if they bought it.

        Why would you plunk down a few billion to buy rights to something you have to let everyone use? I'm sure I'm missing something fundamental

        Because it's another revenue source. Say I own the rights to the airwaves, but you come up with an application or device that uses those airwaves. I lease them to you, so you can run a business with you app or device. I can't do what you're doing, but yo

      • My theory:
        1. Google plans to compete on quality of service level. Existing companies prefer to compete on lack of choice and lock-in, especially by monopolies in service regions or with a particular technology.
        2. No matter who provides the service, the users will likely be using Google as a search engine and get Google ads on their result pages (as well as all the pages with syndicated ads). In its current position, Google can always get a slice of the pie no matter who owns the tubes.

        Both of these will also d

    • by notasheep (220779) on Friday July 20, 2007 @06:30PM (#19934163)
      "Open access rules would require the auction winner to allow any compatible device to connect to their networks on the effected spectrum."

      I think you meant to say that the auction winners would have to lease, at a wholesale price determined by someone, a third of the bandwidth to other service providers that customers would then pay to access the network.

      For this to be anything more than just grandstanding for good karma by Google I'd like to see how the wholesale price is set and why it's a lease instead of a purchase. Google pays a one-time fee for the airwaves and then leases them off a third of them which generates a nice revenue stream for them. The people doing the leasing still have a competitive disadvantage since they always have a bandwidth charge to add to their business model, while the purchasers will recoup their original investment over time and not have that leasing charge on their P&Ls.

      • by LnxAddct (679316) <sgk25@drexel.edu> on Friday July 20, 2007 @08:25PM (#19934807)
        Google's intentions here really are good. The theory is this: Decades ago, AT&T wouldn't let anyone plug anything other than AT&T devices into their lines. It wasn't until this restriction was lifted (which required quite a few years of effort) that fax machines, modems, and many other innovations were able to take place and develop without serious barriers. The wireless spectrum is currently in the same position that landlines were before. No one can "plug" random devices into the wireless spectrum without permission from some company first. Google wants that lifted, and wants the control to be taken away from certain unnamed corporations who have proven they can't be trusted. Opening up the spectrum should enable innovations that aren't even "on the radar" yet. Yes I'm a Google engineer, no this isn't an official response or anything... just another /.er's point of view, but opening up the spectrum is a win for everyone no matter if the final solution is "perfect" or not.
        Regards,
        Steve
    • Well, not quite (Score:5, Insightful)

      by encoderer (1060616) on Friday July 20, 2007 @07:06PM (#19934433)
      The basic requests that Google, ebay, etc made were:

      1. Users can use any device to access the network
      2. Users can run any software they'd like to run
      3. The network interconnects with the internet
      4. The network operators lease bandwidth to 3rd party companies

      The draft proposal that the FCC chief published (and that AT&T just agreed with) protects the first 2 of those rules, but not the last 2.

      The impetus for Google to front this money was the Telecoms lobbying the FCC with the argument that requiring openness will reduce the value of the spectrum and thus reduce the Governments take. By fronting this money, Google negates that argument. They'll only bid if these rules are established, and the Gov't will almost certainly make more money with Google bidding than with them sitting out.

      Suddenly the FCC is left with very little reason to oppose openness. This, in my opinion, removes the political cover that he'd need. It's a game changer and a genius play by Google.
  • Though this may sound sarcastic, I'm asking an honest question.

    Why would a closed spectrum discourage innovation? I would think not forcing people to "lease" portions of the spectrum to higher powers would curb the high cost that hinders most of the world's greatest minds.
    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Friday July 20, 2007 @06:47PM (#19934285)
      Google's trying to make it so that whoever gets the spectrum has a certain price they can't charge above for leasing the spectrum. As it stands now, whoever gets the spectrum can charge whatever they want, or just block someone completely. Right now, the entry barrier is so high that it's almost impossible for smaller companies to get any slice of the spectrum. If Google gets its way, the entry barrier will be much lower, but still there.
    • by DaftShadow (548731) on Friday July 20, 2007 @07:37PM (#19934589)
      It relates to access.

      The reason that we don't have a lot of competition in the Cable TV realm is because the Cable companies own all the cables that they install. They are not required to let another cable network use those wires. DirectTV competes by totally bypassing the cable wires.

      Wireless companies and the major internet providers have much the same stranglehold over broadband & cell phones. Because they install the Last Mile hardware (wired and wireless), they own it, and there is no legal requirements that they allow competitors to truly use it. So their competitors are forced to gather a lot of funds and create a secondary network. That's a high barrier to entry, and means that anyone who wants to get involved is in for one helluva challenge.

      The above is what happens in a closed system. Because there are such a limited number of closed systems available, when they are all owned, the resources are literally unavailable to any future entrepreneurs that wish to compete.

      The idea behind a fully open spectrum that interfaces with the internet is that we can make available (essentially For Cost) a competitive set of access capabilities. So instead of people being forced to use the closed-access spectrums, entrepreneurs are legally allowed to compete without being blocked in any way! This will allow of number of potentially awesome things to take place for both consumers and competitive businesses.

      As a consumer, I want this because I dream that one day soon I can buy a linux smartphone that surfs the web, plays music, and connects to any of the major competitive cell-phone companies without requiring a subscription term or early cancellation fee of any kind. Entrepreneurs want this because the Wireless companies have huge profit-margins and high costs, and are ripe to be undercut and turned in a commodity market. Entrepreneurs (and consumers) also want this because they are sick and tired of dealing directly with the wireless companies in order sell their content. Google wants this because then they can work out deals with growing wireless telco's to sell targeted advertising.

      I haven't even begun to get into the ramifications for Broadband service! Let's just say that everything good I said about Wireless, multiply that 3x and you're just scratching the surface for what this will help create in the ISP sector.

      This is an opportunity to force the giant telco's, ISP's, and wireless providers to start playing fair for everyone. If they aren't up to the task, than they can close up shop while their new competitors provide better service and better prices to us, the consumers.

      - DaftShadow
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TobascoKid (82629)
        Because they install the Last Mile hardware (wired and wireless), they own it, and there is no legal requirements that they allow competitors to truly use it.

        I though the US had Local Loop Unbundling? Or is the FCC not in the habit of enforcing a competitive market?

        As a consumer, I want this because I dream that one day soon I can buy a linux smartphone that surfs the web, plays music, and connects to any of the major competitive cell-phone companies without requiring a subscription term or early cancellati
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Dhalka226 (559740)

          I though the US had Local Loop Unbundling? Or is the FCC not in the habit of enforcing a competitive market?

          Well, the fact that AT&T has basically reassembled itself after being broken up a few decades ago should be proof enough that no, they're not in the habit of enforcing a competitive market.

          However yes, at the moment we still have local loop unbundling and a number of other things that allow some competition over phone lines. It's why you can get your DSL from companies like Earthlink instead

          • by hob42 (41735)
            It's why you can get your DSL from companies like Earthlink instead of your phone company.

            Unless you let the telco install fiber to the curb... now they don't have any copper to lease, and you're locked in once again.
          • by jez9999 (618189)
            Nor, by recent FCC decision, will it be the case for fiber lines, which is why the phone companies are suddenly so gung-ho on building out their fiber networks when they sat on their hands for years. It's also undoubtedly why so many of them are cutting your copper when they install fiber; with a quick snip, they eliminate all competition for Internet services on their lines.

            See, that's exactly the kind of thing a competent regulator should be preventing. No, you can't cut the copper, and whatsmore, the co
    • Why would a closed spectrum discourage innovation?

      As someone else already answered, because it prevents others from creating things. If Ma Bell hadn't been required to allow devices other than their own, there wouldn't of been answering machines, faxes, or modems, and yes, I recall when 1200, heck, 300 baud modems were considered fast.

      Falcon
  • by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Friday July 20, 2007 @06:31PM (#19934167) Homepage
    I love you how can buy segments of the light spectrum like that.

    you think if I offered the FCC $50 they'd sell me the blue?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by louks (1075763)

      you think if I offered the FCC $50 they'd sell me the blue?
      Oh, that's not the FCC, That's http://www.pantone.com/ [pantone.com].
    • by msauve (701917) on Friday July 20, 2007 @07:24PM (#19934531)
      assumptions that

      1) Maximizing US Federal Government revenue is equivalent to maximizing public good.
      2) That airwaves, which by natural law are a shared public resource, can somehow be auctioned/sold.

      It is the modern equivalent of the English Enclosure movement. [everything2.com]
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It is the modern equivalent of the English Enclosure movement.

        Or manifest destiny.
      • by khallow (566160)

        1) Maximizing US Federal Government revenue is equivalent to maximizing public good.

        Dubious assumption indeed.

        2) That airwaves, which by natural law are a shared public resource, can somehow be auctioned/sold.

        Reasonable assumption.

        It is the modern equivalent of the English Enclosure movement.

        With one key difference, they're paying for the airwaves used. As far as I can tell, the common lands were given away in England with the wealthy being heavily favored. Further, I don't think natural law

        • The US government has been delegated the authority to decide how this bit of spectrum is used.
          The US government has no such (legitimate) authority. All powers are (in law) derived exclusively from the Constitution, and there is nothing which gives the US government such a power.

          Spectrum regulation inarguably is a States Right under the 10th Amendment, disinginuous and self serving federal court rulings aside.
          • The 10th amendment states that any powers not given to Congress explicitly in the constitution are given to the states or people, but Congress has the authority to pass laws regarding interstate commerce. Regulation of the public airwaves is clearly a matter of interstate commerce. Why? Airwaves don't respect state lines, and they a vital part of any economy.

            Not only that, but the Constitution says that states cannot place trade barriers against other states (For example, there can be no ban in Florida agai

            • by khallow (566160)
              I had this in mind when I posted earlier. While the interstate commerce clause is too broadly interpreted IMHO, management of spectrum is a legitimate federal government function.
            • communicating via RF is no more commerce than is growing wheat for your own consumption [wikipedia.org], fuck the Supremes, we're no longer a nation of law.

              Your red herring with regard to interference among states fails miserably, too. Look at traditional cooperation in Europe and elsewhere, where countries are comparable to US States with regard to physical RF spectrum issues.
      • by jez9999 (618189)
        2) That airwaves, which by natural law are a shared public resource, can somehow be auctioned/sold.

        Not really; the use of them is being regulated. As a matter of fact, if this didn't happen, they'd be pretty useless. One day you're happily browsing the web via your 802.11e, the next, some prick has come along and disrupted your signal for his HAM radio. Or something.
        • than by your example. 802.11e [sic, that's QoS for 802.11 WLANs] runs over shared, unlicensed spectrum. Regulation is limited to very simple technical matters like power output.

          You also seem to be confused by the difference between regulation and ownership, two fundamentally different and completely unrelated principles.
      • by DavidShor (928926)
        You seem to not be familiar with the tragedy of the commons. It is a Market failure that occurs when people benefit from extraction of a resource, but the costs of extraction are borne by society. The classic example of this is the common fields of England several hundred years ago(These were essentially wiped out by the enclosure movement, which you ironically mentioned.) Farmers would work and graze the land aggressively without regard to the sustainability of the soil. As a result, fertility was very low
    • you think if I offered the FCC $50 they'd sell me the blue?

      They would at first, but would quickly recant and reverse course after protest from the Hooloovoo [wikipedia.org] Ambassador...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mblase (200735)
      But of course, what you're buying is the legal rights to access the thing, not the thing itself. I can't buy a lake -- how do I intend to control what rain falls into it, or where the water flows out of it? -- but I can (and should, in any capitalist economy) be able to buy the right to boat on it, stock it with fish, swim in it, plant trees around it, and keep other individuals and businesses from emptying or polluting it.

      Buying the right to use a portion of the EM spectrum is, fundamentally, no different
      • by neoform (551705)
        Yeah, you're buying the rights to it, which is an exclusive right.

        I could then charge other people money to use that segment of the spectrum the same way google could charge people to use 700mhz after they're awarded rights to it. If i bought blue, I could charge a tax to anyone who uses the color.
    • by Phroggy (441)
      That could be a disaster for the Hooloovoo community...
  • ATT's Worst Fear. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twitter (104583) on Friday July 20, 2007 @06:32PM (#19934175) Homepage Journal

    A well funded competitor.

    • Whoever wins... we lose.
    • $4.5B can win it ... With all the potential this band has, that might just be a piss in the lake compared to what a big telcom might throw at it.
      • Re:I'm not convinced (Score:4, Informative)

        by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Friday July 20, 2007 @09:09PM (#19935003)
        At the end of 2006, Google had about $11.2B cash on hand according to their 10K filings. As of the end of last March (after the BellSouth acquisition), AT&T reports $2.3B in "cash and cash equivalents", and only $24.5B in "total current assets". I'm no broker, but it sure looks to me like Google is in the same league as the telcos.
        • by neoform (551705)
          Main difference is ATT has a lot more assets than google.

          If google owned an infrastructure as big as att, they would have much higher cost of operation which would drag down their ridiculous profits.
        • by jorghis (1000092)
          Cash on hand isnt really the best measurement. AT&T has a lot less cash because they do things like pay dividends and whatnot. If you look at the amount of revenue they bring in its still an order of magnitude greater. Since purchases will likely be paid for by going into debt, the total amount of cash they bring in is much more relevent than how much they have in the bank. Sort of like how someone who makes 500k a year but has 50k in the bank can get a much bigger loan for a house than someone who
  • by Verte (1053342)
    In a statement Thursday, Jim Cicconi, AT&&T's senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs, said Mr. Martin's proposal was an "interesting and creative balance" that would not change the business models of AT&T and others. He said consumers would now have to "put up or shut up."
  • by The Clockwork Troll (655321) on Friday July 20, 2007 @06:39PM (#19934233) Journal
    Well, there goes their Q3 earnings, too.
  • ...should be peeing their pants right now. Whoever wins, this will dramatically alter the landscape of broadband access. FWIW, given the horrible customer service records of all the other players, I hope Google comes out ahead. One note though, why is it so common for government agencies to give massive-scale abilities and income to other large companies through policies such as this, but when it comes to a tech company like Google venturing into that scale everyone gets nervous? Shouldn't people be much,
    • by ZDRuX (1010435) on Friday July 20, 2007 @07:02PM (#19934403)
      Because companies like AT&T and Haliburton either are presently, or have been in the past run by people who were high up in the government tree at one point (or vice-versa). Dick Cheney left Haliburton in 2000 to become Goerge'e Bushes mate. It's not about companies, it's who runs them and who's connected.. they're all buddies and pals and I bet Google isn't friends with any of them and they're scared.
      • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Friday July 20, 2007 @07:15PM (#19934487)
        and I bet Google isn't friends with any of them

        Yet. Google will eventually be subverted and have to play by the old-boy rules.
        • by Joe Tie. (567096)
          Probably. Google's been unique in both its hiring practices, and business model which is heavily based on a perception of not being part of the old-boys club. It won't prevent them from joining such, but it should act as a painful barrier to contemplate walking through.
        • by WasterDave (20047)

          Google will eventually be subverted and have to play by the old-boy rules.

          You mean like how Microsoft eventually conceeded that it had to behave like IBM told it to? Or the eventual victory of the sheet music publishers over these new fangled phonographs? Or how every last square inch of the earth is now a part of the British empire?

          No. They don't have to play by anyone else's rules.

          Dave
    • should be peeing their pants right now

      and probably have been for some time now. The world is a rapidly changing place and (imho) I think we are beginning to see the virtualisation of real life. It will not be long before you'll see virtual graffiti daubed along the back alleys, characters from some MMORPG scurrying around your local church while 'old skool' religious types pray to someone who exanguinates, where the most valuable commercial real estate is not where people have time to shop but where people have time to browse. The wireless

    • Well, cable is not going to sit around waiting for the ax to fall. DOCSIS 3.0 is ratified, products are going to be introduced next year (this fall in some markets), and will be very competitive with fiber to the home when it comes to speed.

      And the phone companies aren't going to be waiting, either. All the RBOCS are planning FTTH, or at least FTTC (fiber to the curb), and Verizon WILL go national with their fiber network at some point (although it could be years before it gets to your house).

      Sadly, we'll a
    • Wireless is OK, but I don't think you will ever see it compete with land lines for high end bandwidth capability like IPTV or P2P. What I think the Google offer means is the end of walled garden networks for VOIP and other low to mid bandwidth WiFi applications.

  • A worse chunk of airwave spectrum went for over 13 Billion dollars in a previous auction. Google offering 4.6 Billion would be like me offering 4500 dollars for a brand new car that is probably worth over 20K.

    That said, It would be much better for google to win this than almost anyone else. At least I'm confident they won't waste the technological potential.
  • 4.5bi for airwaves, so I wonder how much they already spent on dark fibers and what they bought with all that money.
    • and how much on "Google in a box" projects to make portable mini Googles? To put at the end of the dark fiber? and attach to wireless antennae.
      The one thing Google needs to make this work is "universal" wireless access. They'd like to simply buy 1 channel (bonus points for 2 next to each other) across the entire USA... then they could let their PHDs lay out a neat, clean spec. Google would be willing to let a bunch of companies compete for devices on this network... as long as they support Google ads.
  • I thought Google's mantra was "Do no evil."

    How is seeking government regulation to strengthen a particular company's ability to do business not evil?
    • Re:do no evil? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday July 20, 2007 @08:36PM (#19934867)
      It isn't. But seeking government regulation to allow all companies big and small to do business on an equal playing field is not evil. Actually, it's what the government is SUPPOSED to do in a market economy.
    • by LnxAddct (679316)
      They aren't being evil. The FCC's concern was that the FCC wouldn't make any money by opening the spectrum according to what Google, Ebay, and others wanted (which is a low maximum on what can be charged for the spectrum, allowing smaller companies to innovate), so Google stepped up and said "We've got money. We guarantee you that you'll get at least 4.6 billion from us if you open up the spectrum"
      Regards,
      Steve
    • How is seeking government regulation to strengthen a particular company's ability to do business not evil?

      This will benefit many companies not just Google. By allowing open access any company can offer products and services using the airwaves. That is good not evil. What's evil is having only one company who controls what's available.

      Falcon
    • It's actually "don't be evil".

      Every law, good or evil, will benefit some company. This does not in itself have any moral implication. Working for some law to be enacted is only evil if that law itself is evil.
  • by phreaki (725521) on Friday July 20, 2007 @08:11PM (#19934735) Homepage
    As a person with a vested interest in a large Wifi/900/5ghz system that has many pleased users, I welcome Google and their stance. We'd love to lease bandwidth and open devices, as the 700mhz would allow us to penetrate in places unthinkable until now, with power that would make you shiver. I'd imagine Ubiquiti's frequency freedom would scale nice, with the addition of some wattage. I'm not happy to see AT&T taking over yet another town, charging $70 a month for GSM coverage, using technology only they will sanction. I'm all for Google setting base rules to how the radios will share the airtime, and if someone wants to use a different modulation supported in a software radio they've installed, it's kosher with them. In any case, 700mhz should afford at least 2megabit imho, even more in the future, and with the mhz available, possibly 20-30megabit. I don't want to see this in the hands of someone who just wants to sell data plans, it's much better in the hands of someone who wants to show ads, and let other people sell the service. I'm all for the open system, just like local competition in DSL is allowed, so Google is important, but dispensable, as the most desirable element is the reselling of the service. I for one know, my customers will choose us over Google, Cingular, Sprint, Nextel, or Verizon.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by R2.0 (532027)
      "penetrate in places unthinkable until now, with power that would make you shiver."

      Poetry. Sheer poetry.

      I can't wate to use that phrase on my wife.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by phreaki (725521)
        I'm a filthy erotic poetry writer, Snow White and the Sub Gigahertz Dwarves.
  • Hell, sure better not at&crap. They have been trying every kind of barely legal trick to monopolize and control entire united states's information for over 1.5 years now.
  • It doesn't look like anyone else is every going to do it so I wish Google would. Launch a fleet of LEO satellites for global high-speed internet access. Unlike geosynchronous satellites some folks use for this now the latency would be very low for LEOs.

    LEO = Low Earth Orbit, ~200mi up versus ~26,000mi up for geosynchronous ones.

    Skip 700Mhz and go for true global coverage instead.
    • by Alascom (95042)
      Already exists, its called Iridium. I was an engineer at Iridium when we launched all our satellites. Originally slated for 77 (hence Iridium) but later dropped to 72 satellites, organized in 11 orbital paths with 10 satellites in each orbit (9 active, 1 spare).

      I also was the very first person to establish a PPP connection over an Iridium satellite, at a phenomenal 4.2kbps speed. The problem was that it cost 6 billion dollars to deploy, but by the time we had it up and running cellular phones had pretty
      • So you are one of the persons I could thank for the regularly visible and wonderful Iridium flares? :)
        ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_flare [wikipedia.org] )

        I don't have a satellite phone, but the heavenly light shows can be truly stunning, thanks! :)

      • by ArkiMage (578981)
        Very interesting.. Yeah I was already familiar with Iridium and the fact that it was named after the atomic number of the element but they ended up not needing that number of satellites. I also remember hearing about the planned de-orbiting and at the last minute there was hope it could be converted from a cellular phone coverage platform to an internet delivery one. But, that the electronics on-board simply weren't fast enough or really setup for that, so that was abandoned. The military stepped in and bou
  • Google has offered to bid at least $4.6 billion on wireless airwaves being auctioned off by the federal government, as long as certain conditions are met.

    Well I'm willing to bid $100 Billion dollars, as long as certain conditions are met. Namely, I receive a $99.99 Billion tax refund to "develop my new wireless business". Google's promise to bid raises the floor for the spectrum auction, but is just about as self-serving. In the end, consumers will pay no matter what the rules are. As long as they're na

  • "Ma Bell" (Score:4, Funny)

    by wile_e_wonka (934864) on Friday July 20, 2007 @09:48PM (#19935219)

    this article would seem to confirm Ma Bell's worst fears
    I find it hard to call AT&T "Ma Bell" anymore. Southern Bell Corporation purchased AT&T, then took the name. In other words, one of the "baby bells" grew up and ate it's mother. Then stuck her logo on his forehead. Hence the current AT&T isn't really "Ma Bell" it's some weird and pretty ironic freak of nature.

    Just nitpicking.
  • Belong to the public and should not be held hostage by congress.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_spectrum [wikipedia.org]

    explanation of interference.

    http://www.acmqueue.org/modules.php?name=Content&p a=showpage&pid=37 [acmqueue.org]

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