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FCC Doesn't Love Google's Airwaves Plan

The Federal Communications Commission is not overly excited at the prospect of Google bidding in its next spectrum auction slated for Jan. 28. In a filing with the federal organization last week, the search king stated its intention to bid the minimum $4.6 billion for a piece of the airwaves if the FCC mandates that the auctioned spectrum be leased out at wholesale prices. In response to Google's letter, FCC chairman Kevin Martin said an airwaves-leasing proposal from big G could make bidders "less willing" to build out their networks. Google's bid would be for one-third of the spectrum, which is to fetch $15 billion.

Google has been battling with telecom giants AT&T and Verizon Wireless over rules for the auction, which have not been set yet. The carriers plan to use the airwaves to enhance their mobile Web offerings, while Google wants the network to be open to any wireless device (so it can sell more ads), and may resell part of the spectrum should there be excess capacity.

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During a House of Representatives Telecommunications subcommittee meeting, Martin stressed that auction rules provide "maximum incentive to invest in the underlying wireless network." By "wireless," he means the mobile Web. However, Martin is understood to be on Google's side, in that he wants the winner to open its network to any legal mobile device. Currently, carriers are not required to do that, hence exclusive partnerships between carriers like AT&T and handset makers like Apple.

Read the whole story at Bloomberg »

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