The FCC is auctioning off the 700 MHz spectrum, which is currently being used to offer phone service on airplanes. This spectrum could be used to bring broadband to airplanes (yeah! finally!), but the auction has a lot of eyebrows raised because Google threw their hat in the ring. It turns out that this spectrum could be used for a whole lot more than just bringing broadband to airplanes, it can disrupt the business model of the traditional wireless carriers. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin refers to this as the “third pipe“.
Martin spoke to the subcommittee of a “third pipe,” expressing the necessity of an alternative to cable and DSL service for high-speed internet access into the home, particularly those who cannot be served with existing services like those living in the rural parts of America. “Depending on how the Commission structures the upcoming auction, we will either enable the emergence of a third broadband pipe — one that would be available to rural as well as urban American — or we will miss our biggest opportunity.”
The open-access proposal by Martin has garnered support by No. 1 wireless provider AT&T, which made a sudden reversal from the rest of the wireless industry, and was threatening litigation again open-access provisions in a time period as short as a few weeks ago. However, the plan is still opposed by No. 2 provider Verizon Wireless, and the rest of the wireless industry.
Interesting article on the 700 MHz auction at Telecommagazine.com…
FCC request would hurt existing wireless companies, say critics
Although the dust has barely settled on the FCC’s long-awaited decision surrounding rules for the upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction, Google’s critics are infuriated by what they see as the Internet giant’s arrogant attempt to influence the FCC.
I was particularly interested in the author’s perspective and how he wrote to his intended audience (emphasis mine):
Mike McCurry, co-chairman of the lobbyist organization Hands Off the Internet, argues Google is trying “to wrap a set of rules into wireless that would evaporate the existing business models of a lot of wireless companies. There’s robust competition in wireless that has led to certain configurations of products available to consumers.”
Google provoked the ire of its critics in July when it said it would stump up the US$4.6bn reserve price for so-called C-block spectrum (12 blocks of 22MHz providing nationwide coverage) if the FCC met four conditions in the auction: open applications, open devices, open services and open networks. The FCC acceded to two: opening the networks to devices and applications.
The advertising imprint shown on my page view included Telcordia, a major ISV in the telecom industry. Accenture (the leading SI for the telecom industry) also advertised. Wondering how companies like Amdocs, Telcordia, and Accenture perceive the 700 MHz spectrum auction.