21 December 2007

Do I Hear 4.6 Billion?

From Wired Business News: FCC Releases 700-MHz Auction Bidder List.

As promised, the FCC released a list late Tuesday night of what turns out to be 266 potential applicants who are all seeking to bid in the upcoming 700 MHz auction scheduled for January 24. The FCC released no further information about how much each company will fork over to the government or even what portion of the 700 MHz spectrum they are bidding on, due to auction rules set up previously.

Google, a company that has already admitted it will be putting up at least $4.6 billion of its own money for the highly sought after "C" block, had its application accepted and is bidding under the name Google Airwaves.

"Google Airwaves", eh? With the impending release of Android, Google has made their interest in the wireless market quite evident. If they win the spectrum, I'll be curious to see if they can make OTA internet connectivity a viable option.

Many people will be vary of one company having so much control over the information we consume, from search results to the very carrier medium by which it reaches us. Think about it: if this were Microsoft instead of the big G, the pundits would be up in arms yelling about monopolistic practices.

I'm hoping it works out for two reasons:

A) If we as audio professionals are going to have our tool sets limited, it better be for a good reason. As I've stated before, I believe in the power of information and education. If a "free" (i.e. probably ad-supported) internet service becomes available in metropolitan areas, it would help to close the digital divide. Low-income folks will have access to online resources without having to be limited to public library hours and locations, allowing them the opportunity for self-education via straight research or online school courses.

B) It will press existing internet providers to either drop their prices or significantly increase their bandwidth offerings. I've read in a few places that the US pales in comparison to Europe and especially South Korea for what we call "broadband". If our options are between decent gratis wireless, or a screaming fat pipe for a monthly fee, we can choose what's best for our needs.

We shall see...

Link, via wired.com.

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