Google’s dropped a nice, shiny lure before the cash-starved Federal Communications Commission as Google fishes for open access on the 700MHz band; $4,600,000,000 and up, a tidy sum exceeding the FCC’s annual budget a dozen times over. With federal deficits zooming, this would make the Commission look very good to the Congress, which mandated goal-setting in bandwidth auctions.
Google’s CEO wrote directly to the Commission to explain the move first revealed on Google’s public policy blog. When TV stations on channels 52-59 finally surrender the 42-cm. band as they shift to digital-only by February 17, 2009, wireless license holders claim providing broadband on those frequencies will be far more cost effective than the 1900MHz frequencies now used by most major wireless carriers. Google, already investing in ‘picocell’ extenders for that band, wants some (not all) of those new channels preserved for:
- Open applications: consumers should be able to download and utilize any software applications, content, or services they desire
- Open devices: consumers should be able to utilize their handheld communications device with whatever wireless network they prefer
- Open services: third parties (resellers) should be able to acquire wireless services from a 700 MHz licensee on a wholesale basis, based on reasonably nondiscriminatory commercial terms
- Open networks: third parties (like Internet service providers) should be able to interconnect at any technically feasible point in a 700 MHz licensee’s wireless network
Predictably, traditional wireless providers, such as Verizon and ATT (major users of adjacent and similar 850MHz frequencies), oppose Google’s desire for wireless glasnost.