Gary Allison's Leadership Blog

Tech News30 Jan 2008 04:29 am

Last week, the FCC auction begins for the 700Mhz spectrum to be released by current television broadcasts as they switch to all digital broadcasts next year (February 2009). Google is expected to ante up the 4.6 Billion dollars in the closed-bid auction for the spectrum which is of intense interest because of its capability to carry the high bandwidth needed for high speed internet and communications over vast distances. This means mre bandwidth and lower costs to build the network.

Google won’t be alone. The usual cast of characters, Verizon and AT&T are also expected to bid on this desirable frequency band. In a sense, Google has already won in that they have succeeded in adding a mandate to the bidding that winner must open the frequencies to all handsets and devices that wish to play. The interesting question is: what can Google do with all this wireless bandwidth.

There are many possibilities, but a few standout. The next generation of communication devices will far exceed the iPhone in capabilities and could make maximum use of a 4th generation data network. This could quickly position Google as the dominate wireless provider in the US. They have announced though that Sprint and T-mobile are joining forces with Google on building an open platform for the new network. This would be an interesting partnership for Google as the billing, provisioning, and customer service required for mobile phone clients represents a significant hurdle and different business model for Google.

Still, I go back to my last post. The location information Google could gain from owning this spectrum would be immensely valuable in selling advertising and other marketing services. One thing is for sure, the world is about to become a whole lot more connected than it already is.

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