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More on 700 MHz Block C Hits Reserve Price

This is big... For the upper band C Block, the FCC mandated that any winning licensee have in place "no locking" and "no blocking" provisions conditioning its use of this spectrum: "Licensees offering service on spectrum subject to this section shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee..." The no-locking, no-blocking requirements were hedged in by substantial limitations... But it's still important... Particularly if Google is the winning bidder, something we may not know for a month or so. more»

Google Playing to Win in the 700 MHz Auctions

Many say Google will bid to lose in the upcoming 700 MHz auctions and many more are equivocating. The idea is Google's entry alone will induce enough openness, and besides they couldn't afford to become an operator. This shows a total lack of understanding! more»

Verizon OPEN Wireless

Very surprising and welcome announcement from Verizon Wireless yesterday announcing that "it will provide customers the option to use, on its nationwide wireless network, wireless devices, software and applications not offered by the company. Verizon Wireless plans to have this new choice available to customers throughout the country by the end of 2008..." And Verizon Wireless is right to open up. There's plenty of room to be cynical about this; after all, Verizon Wireless is trying to STOP the FCC from putting an openness requirement on the 700Mhz spectrum to be auctioned... more»

White Space in the Great White North

There is growing interest in the US for the FCC to look at White Space to enable more options for broadband wireless in rural areas. What is White Space? Last weekend, the Sunday NY Times published an article about wireless services that included this description: "In many areas, not all broadcast [television] channels are in use. The unused channels are "white spaces" of high-quality spectrum that could be made available to local Internet service providers. Unlike the much higher frequency of Wi-Fi, television broadcast frequencies can travel for miles and penetrate walls, providing a much broader range for Internet service." There is a coalition of eight technology companies driving the discussion in the US... more»

This Week in the White Spaces

Every once in a while I look in on the white spaces, to see how things are going. You'll recall that the white spaces are unused, non-contiguous ("swiss cheese" ) frequencies between broadcast stations around the county. Commr. McDowell of the FCC has said that initial rules for the white spaces will be released sometime this fall. If the white spaces are made available on an unlicensed basis for use by opportunistic, "smart," low-power mobile devices, entrepreneurial engineers will think of ways to use this wealth of spectrum (300 MHz wide, if fractured) to provide mobile connections to whatever fiber installations are nearest. more»

Prediction: Google WILL Bid for 700MHz Spectrum and WILL Win

There is an excellent business case for Google bidding megabucks in the upcoming 700MHz auction and investing even more to get a network up and running. I think Google is well aware of the value to them if they win and the harm they'd suffer if the duopoly wins instead. Google can make big bucks with a nationwide third network AND make things better for all Internet users AND improve the United States' pathetic competitive position in the contest for broadband access. Hope this post doesn't end up post-tagged "wishful thinking"... more»

Two Things Happened at the FCC Today

Paul Kaputska has the best wrap-up of the 700 MHz press releases and statements online, with comments from major players. Rick Whitt is polite and welcoming, noting the progress that's been made (who would have thought any move towards unlocking devices from networks was possible?) while saying it would have been better to have included wholesale requirements. But while even mainstream media was (finally) focusing on the moderate, incremental, and possibly hopelessly unenforceable (and ultimately meaningless) steps taken by the FCC today in announcing its auction rules, something else happened. more»

First Impression: FCC Rules for the 700MHz Auction

The FCC has issued rules which will govern the auction of valuable radio spectrum which could make a huge difference in the price and quality of communications in America. The glass is definitely half something: I'd say closer to empty than full but there are some things to like and some hope for competition. The decision is a compromise. Republican Chairman Martin was joined by Democrat Commissioners Adelstein and Copps in setting some open access conditions for 22MHz out of the 62MHz which will be auctioned. Republican Commissioner Tate reluctantly went along with these conditions and Republican McDowell voted against them. more»

Other Plans: WiMAX, Google, Sprint and Clearwire

Someone asked me a question today about Google's new partnership with Sprint. Sprint/Nextel is the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S., falling far behind Verizon and AT&T -- who together control 51% of the wireless market. (Sprint services are also resold by Comcast and Time Warner as part of their packages.) Sprint has announced it won't bid in the 700 MHz auction. Sprint has other plans... more»

Google's Good Bandwidth Gambit

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has made the FCC an offer it shouldn't refuse. At this point it's unlikely that the FCC will accept but it would be good for the United States if it did -- and good for Google, of course. Two problems with the Google offer: at&t and Verizon hate it and it probably would result in the 700MHz auction bringing in somewhat less money (immediately) for the treasury than an alternative which would encourage the telcos to bid. more»