GOOGLE to bid in 700mhz aution

After months of leading a lobbying effort to promote open access for the 700-MHz frequencies that will be auctioned in January, Google formally announced on Friday that it will bid in the auction.Google had been the leading participant in an alliance of public interest groups and companies, which earlier this year had asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require that the winner of the so-called C Block of frequencies provide open access to some of the spectrum.

Open networks include the ability for any outside, compatible device and nonmalicious software to be used on those frequencies, a requirement that the FCC eventually adopted.

Money ‘Where Our Principles Are’

The Google-led alliance made other requests, such as requiring that the winner make the bandwidth available on a wholesale basis to third-party resellers. Google had indicated it would participate in the auction if there were sufficient open policies in place. But after the “wholesale provision” was not adopted, there was some speculation that the search giant would pass.

In a statement on Friday, however, Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt said it was important “to put our money where our principles are,” adding that consumers deserve “more competition and innovation than they have in today’s wireless world.”

Those principles have a hefty price tag. The FCC said that there is a $4.6 billion minimum for participation in the auction, and that it might drop the open provisions it adopted if no winning bid is submitted.

Additionally, many observers have noted the obvious fact that Google is not a wireless network company. This has led to speculation that it might partner with one or more experienced wireless networking companies for the bidding, but Friday’s announcement indicated that it would file its application alone.

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