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Google schtum on UK wireless spectrum bid report

900MHz of static

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Google has refused to comment on "speculation" in today's papers that it will bid to provide mobile broadband in Ofcom's mooted auction of radio spectrum in 2009.

The Guardian claims it is already considering the move after yesterday's auction consultation announcement.

Google has been flexing all its lobbying and financial muscle to grab a slice of wireless spectrum in the US. It intends to lay down $4.6bn for the 700MHz band when it's vacated by analogue terrestrial TV stations.

Part of the lobbying that Google and other tech firms did in the US was for the auction to be available to all comers and not just, say, more TV stations. Ofcom has already said it would like a technologically-neutral sell-off if it can boot Vodafone and O2 off the 900MHz band.

It would be more surprising if Google wasn't looking at the UK wireless market. However, the equation is different to the US, where the case for wireless is stronger because of the massive distances and less competitive fixed broadband and mobile operator scenes. Early WiMAX efforts in the UK have mostly received a lukewarm reception.

Google spokesman DJ Collins said: "The Ofcom announcement was only yesterday. We're just not going to comment." ®

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