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Google ready to put up, bid on spectrum

Woo hoo! No longer will Google be advocates of an open, wholesale spectrum — they’ll actually have the chance to own it. Word has it that they will bid at least $4.6 billion in the auction. It’s not certain if that amount will meet the government’s reserve price, but it’s tough to sneeze at $4.6 billion. However, as we’ve said before, there’s always a catch.

If Google is to make this bid, they are once again requiring that any winners “lease a certain portion of the airwaves to other companies seeking to offer high-speed Internet and other services.” So it looks like Google only wants to bid on a portion of the spectrum. That makes sense.

Once again, we do admire Google’s tenacity in this regard.They’re trying to open up a spectrum to people who can truly benefit consumers. By putting up a bid themselves of $4.6 billion, they’re showing that they’re doing their part. But they want to put the onus on others to do the “right” thing with this spectrum, too.

Maybe this bit will help clear this whole issue up:

Even without the wholesale provision in the final rules, Google can still lease the airwaves to other providers if it wins the auction.

But, Chris Sacca, Google’s head of special initiatives, said the company is a longshot to win.

This makes AT&T’s mandate to “put up or shut up” in better perspective. Google is going to put up a competitive bid, but that spectrum is far more valuable to telecoms like AT&T and Verizon. Thus, they’ll put up much larger bids. Google is trying to ensure that their idea for the spectrum is carried out, no matter the winner. And if other companies drop out of the auction because of these rules, Google would remain as a bidder.

It seems we’re writing on this topic every day — and why not? This is a very important issue for consumers. We want open access, and we finally have a chance to obtain it. We just don’t have faith that the government will comply, given the large amounts of money that will be thrown around by the big companies.

[First Coast News]