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FCC Wants To Sell Yet More Airwaves, Google Perks Up

I guess the $20 billion the FCC brought in during Auction 73 just wasn't enough. Today, Kevin Martin, the FCC's chairman, floated the idea of another spectrum auction. This one will sell off 25 MHz of spectrum, with the express purpose of providing free wireless broadband services. Google must be licking its chops.
I guess the $20 billion the FCC brought in during Auction 73 just wasn't enough. Today, Kevin Martin, the FCC's chairman, floated the idea of another spectrum auction. This one will sell off 25 MHz of spectrum, with the express purpose of providing free wireless broadband services. Google must be licking its chops.RCR News is reporting that the new auction will be called AWS III. It will involve a 25-MHz band between 2,155 MHz and 2,180 MHz. This band has good characteristics for capacity, but not as good as, say, the 700-MHz region for propagation (traveling through distance and objects well). How exactly a national broadband network will be built on this spectrum is purely speculation at this point.

The FCC is having a big ole sit down on June 12 to discuss this and other issues, and it will vote then on what to do with the spectrum. As of now, the proposal states that the winner of the license will need to provide free wireless broadband to 50% of the nation within four years, and then to 95% of the population by the end of the license term.

Free wireless broadband to half the country? Just how is the federal government going to convince some entity to pay billions of dollars to win the spectrum, and then billions more to build out a network and then just offer up services for free? The FCC proposal didn't include any provisions for the winner to make any money off this idea. There has to be another angle that wasn't made public.

Of course, Google might be able to make money. It could be sure that there are versions of Android devices that are compatible with this new spectrum. That would allow it to sell who knows how many devices that would have free wireless Internet. The idea of free wireless Internet should convince enough people to run out and buy Android this or Android that. Google and its OHA partners need only draft up some appealing devices and then sit back and watch the money roll in.

Until the network itself goes broke.

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