Google’s bid promotes competition
Google and several other relatively new startups want to buy out the 700 MHz spectrum when the Federal Communications Commission puts it on auction later this year.
The spectrum is the portion of airwaves currently used by standard-definition analog TV. TV broadcasts are set to move entirely to digital formats by 2009, thus opening the old wavelength.
AT’T, Comcast, Verizon Communication and Time Warner Cable – collectively known as the Big Four – also want a piece of this action; however, they want to use the current, flawed auction rules which bar new entrants to the field with prices so high nobody else can afford them.
Google, with its proposed minimum bid of $4.6 billion, can afford the entry fee, but will only join the fray if certain criteria are met. These criteria include free and open access from "safe" devices on all carriers and software packages, as well as easy entry to the field for newcomers.
"We’re putting consumers’ interests first, and putting our money where our principles are- to the tune of $4.6 billion," wrote Chris Sacca in the Official Google Blog.
The Big Four, however, want as little competition as possible. Understandably, they’ve gotten used to their profits, and want to keep them rolling in. With new entrants to the field who will be able to cut the huge profit margin the telecom companies enjoy, there will be a tide of consumers moving to the cheaper, possibly more reliable competitors.
One question remains, though: what will Google use all that bandwidth for? A company wouldn’t commit $4.6 billion dollars for something just to let it sit.
One theory is the so-called Googlephone. With the iPhone being so hyped, the Googlephone, if confirmed, will shoot through the roof.
Rumored to include free access to this 700 MHz band, the Googlephone would likely also include use of all of Google’s myriad services, including search, GMail, Maps, Products and various academic utilities. All of these would of course be completely integrated, allowing you to dial a person’s number, look them up on a map and get their social-network profiles all at once.
The revolution will be broadcast – all on old TV signals.
Conant, an entrepreneurship freshman, can be reached via [email protected]