Via TechCrunch, today may be the day we find out if Google is serious about pursuing the 700 MHz spectrum, which sounds like a load of crazy talk from that guy in front of the YMCA in Central Square but may actually prove to be a game-changer for all of us.
Here’s the brief backstory: The Federal government has owned the entire broadcast spectrum since its founding — back when our great-grandparents snorted cocaine for headaches and burned communists at the stake. Now that the cable and satellite communications infrastructure have largely taken over, the government wants to sell off the unused 700 MHz spectrum, a powerful, wireless, broadcast spectrum that could easily be used as a carrier spectrum for cell phone communications. The catch is that government is specifying that the buyer of the spectrum use it for the public good.
Initially, the speculation was that Google planned to buy up the spectrum for the purposes of setting up its own cell network. Google could then simply out-source the manufacture of phones that would run the new Google cell phone OS (Android), and undercut the a-hole wireless companies that have been threatening to charge Google and other massive Web companies more for distribution on their networks.
Some even predicted that Google could bankrupt Verizon by charging almost nothing for use of the spectrum (which would be relatively cheap to operate since there are already plenty of towers capable of broadcasting the spectrum).
TechCrunch says today’s the day that Google will announce its bid for the spectrum. We also learn that rather than using the spectrum for an all-out assault on wireless companies, Google may in fact be partnering up with a few to take advantage of the spectrum:
Since we last wrote about the auction Google has announced the Open Handset Alliance (Android) which includes T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel; in effect Google has an existing partnership with two of the four major existing mobile players in the United States. If Google is seeking to become a cellphone operator in its own right, this wouldn’t be well received by T-Mobile or Sprint Nextel; unless of course Google is already talking about partnerships where by one (or both) of their partners provides the towers and service provision whilst Google maintains spectrum ownership, whilst presumably dictating access terms that would favor open access and/ or Android itself.
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Google To Announce Wireless Spectrum Bid Friday [TechCrunch]