Wednesday, August 1, 2007

700Mz Goldmine

The FCC will soon be auctioning off 62MHz of spectrum in the upper 700MHz band. Yesterday the FCC moved forward by approving some new rules that will give wireless users more choices in this country.The spectrum to be auctioned is being freed up based on a Congressional mandate as U.S. television broadcasters move from analog to digital broadcasts. There is an incredible amount of interest in this peice of spectrum because of its ability to be communicate over long distances and pass through walls and other obstructions.

Of the 62 MHz, 22 MHz will be considered "open access" spectrum with another 10MHz dedicated to public safety networks used by first responders - firefighters, police, etc.The "open access" rule was heavily debated and pushed hard by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and others at the FCC. Providing "open access" will allow consumers to use any device and software they want in the open access spectrum range.

It looks like Google is happy with the open content provision but Google was hoping another provision would be approved. This provision, if it had been approved, would require the spectrum licensee to sell network access at a wholesale rate to other service providers including direct competition. Google had dangled a minimum bid of $4.6 Billion which many (including Verizon and At&T) believe was an attempt by Google to keep the price down - basically low-ball the auction and picking up broadband spectrum at a bargain price. Kevin Martin was especially concerned this would seriously lower the bidding price and the provision was not included in the rules. As a result, it does not look like Google will participate in the auction at this time.

The spectrum will be auctioned off no later that January 28. 2008 and I've read auction predictions of anywhere from $10 Billion to $30 Billion will be bid for the spectrum.

Regardless of who gets it and how much money is spent by the licensee - in the end it will mean more choice, bandwidth and lower cost to the consumer.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Also the new rules will allow us, consumers, to by a cell phone, load any software we want on it, then choose a carrier. That is, we can keep the same cell phone if we change a provider, AT&T to Verizon or Sprint or T-mobile…etc.