Secret bidder delivers 'open access' to US airwaves
And Eric Schmidt will die in 2039
As the US Federal Communications Commission auctions off the coveted 700-MHz "C Block" - a prime portion of the American airwaves - bidding has topped $4.6bn. And that's a key number.
$4.6bn is the "reserve price" for the C Block, and now that the FCC has at least that much in hand, we can be sure this juicy slice of wireless spectrum will include an "open access" requirement - a much-discussed clause that says the winning bidder must allow access to any device and any application.
What we don't know is which bidder triggered the open access clause. This is a secret auction. But we're guessing it was Google.
Bidding passed the reserve price this morning, in round seventeen of the FCC auction, when the C Block price hit $4.7bn. There were no bids during the previous three rounds, as the price stagnated at $4.3bn.
Chances are, Google is battling Verizon for the rights to 700-MHz C Block, but some Reg readers believe that AT&T will make a play as well. When it comes to the 700-MHz band, AT&T has been much quieter than Verizon over the past several months, but like Verizon, it recently made a point of saying it adores open access. When AT&T starts behaving like that, you know something's up.
Of course, Verizon has acted in even more ridiculous ways. First, it threw a US appeals court at the FCC, tying to get the open access requirement removed. Then it said it's current network would be open by the end of the year.
If AT&T or Verizon wins the C Block, we question how open the airwaves will truly be. But one thing's for sure: Whoever wins the block, they'll be prone to ridiculous behavior.
According to an interview in Fortune, Google's head honchos - co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and CEO Eric Schmidt - have promised to be business buddies until 2024.
Fortune: "Will you all work at Google for the rest of your careers?"
Schmidt: "We agreed to work together for how long, gentlemen?"
Brin: "Twenty years."
Fortune: "Really? When did you make that agreement?"
Schmidt: "Two years, seven months, and four days ago. But who's counting? Actually, we agreed the month before we went public that we would work together for 20 years. I will be 69, and according to Google I'm going to live to 84, so I should be fine."
So, the US airwaves may soon be in the hands of a company that claims to know when people are going to die. ®
Although this has been going around a bit, the actual problem would occur if a significant number of systems are still running OSes that have not gone to 64-bit time_t. (solutions involving epoch shifting for archival data already exist).
Maybe someone's cufflinks will still be running a 32-bit OS that hasn't been updated in 30+ years, but I doubt Google will.
What's the line from "About Schmidt"?
....where Jack Nicholson, whose character is a retiring insurance exec, says (IIRC) "Tell me a man's age, race, marital status, where he lives and works and what he does for a living, and I can tell you with great certainty how long that man will live." Hasn't that been true of actuarial science for some time now? If you have enough of the right statistics to back you up, you can predict almost anything - though "enough of the right statistics" can be a HUGE cliff to climb in practice!
perfect for google
Allow everyone to connect for free, but as part of that arrangment you have to agree to have all your traffic monitored for anything of use to advertisers. You happen to mention to a friend via IM that you couldn't find your white socks this morning so are wearing blue ones and 5 mins later all the webpages you visit (running google ads) are throwing things at you like 'no white socks, we can help' and 'lost your white socks again? with the white sock finder you will never lose another white sock'
Google then get to charge advertisers even more with promises of 'targeted ads - in real time!' followed by a new corporate slogan
Google: All your information are belong to us