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Google Will Bid At Least $4.6 Billion on Wireless Airwaves

Google has announced today that it will bid at least $4.6 billion on the wireless airwaves that are to be auctioned off by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). However Google will only commit to its bid if the following conditions are met:

  • Open applications: Consumers should be able to download and utilize any software applications, content, or services they desire;
  • Open devices: Consumers should be able to utilize a handheld communications device with whatever wireless network they prefer;
  • Open services: Third parties (resellers) should be able to acquire wireless services from a 700 MHz licensee on a wholesale basis, based on reasonably nondiscriminatory commercial terms; and
  • Open networks: Third parties (like internet service providers) should be able to interconnect at any technically feasible point in a 700 MHz licensee's wireless network.

In response to this announcement, Om Malik of GigaOM says that behind all the 'openness' of Google's proposal, there are likely hefty vested interests in play:

"Google's proposal liberally throws around the word, OPEN: open apps, open platform, open devices, open services and open network. Those are nice words. But in reality no one commits spending $4.6 billion (or more) unless they have vested interests. I suspect Google has a lot more wireless applications coming, and needs to basically insure a way to get them to the people."

Susan Crawford talks more about this announcement on her blog as well as, of course, Chris Sacca on Google's own blog.

Read full story: BusinessWeek

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