Feeds

Secret bidder delivers 'open access' to US airwaves

And Eric Schmidt will die in 2039

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.