Feeds

Secret bidding for US airwaves tops $3.3bn

Will it be Google? Or Verizon?

Boost IT visibility and business value

Yes, the 700-MHz auction has finally arrived. But we're still waiting for the big money bets.

On Thursday, the US Federal Communications Commission took the first bids for the much ballyhooed 700-MHZ "C Block," a particularly juicy nationwide slice of the US airwaves, and four business days later, as the auction reaches its twelfth round, the bidding has topped $3.3bn.

Of course, things won't get interesting until we hit $4.6bn.

After heavy lobbying from the likes of Google, FCC has attached an "open access" requirement to the C Block, which will (supposedly) force the winning bidder to allow access from any device and any application - internet-style. But if the $4.6bn "reserve price" isn't met, the commission reserves the right to re-auction the block without the open access requirement.

At one point, Google said it was prepared to lay down the full $4.6bn, but this was a shameless attempt to bribe the FCC into attaching additional requirements to the C Block, and the FCC did not comply. Chances are, Google is still willing to go this high, but you have to wonder how far it will go beyond $4.6bn.

Sadly, the bidding process is closed to the public, so we don't know who's bidding what. But you can be sure that the auction will eventually come to down to Google versus Verizon.

In September, Verizon threw a US appeals court at the FCC in an attempt to get the open access removed. But when its toss went wide of the mark, the company decided that what it really wanted to do was tell the world that it loved open access. According to a late November annoucement, it will open up its wireless network to "any app, any device" by the end of this year. But we question how open it will really be.

So we're rooting for the lesser of two evils. We're rooting for Google. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.