Feeds

Secret bidder delivers 'open access' to US airwaves

And Eric Schmidt will die in 2039

Business security measures using SSL

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.

Google was one of the loudest voices calling for open access, and at one point, the world's largest search engine said it was prepared to lay down the full $4.6bn.

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.

Example? Sure.

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.