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Google May Build Wireless Network

Google is making waves in the mobile industry after the company announced it would bid on a $4.6 billion slice of wireless spectrum to be auctioned off by the Federal Communications Commission early next year. A somewhat unexpected decision, industry watchers now wonder if it plans to build a wireless mobile network, or even a Google phone.

Google execs reveal that the company's main goal in bidding on the airwaves is to provide Internet access to those who live in hard-to-reach areas of the country. However, should Google decide to build a network, it would be thrust into competition with telecom carriers like AT&T and Verizon, companies it also seeks to partner with. Search Engine Land editor Danny Sullivan says Google's move is all about ensuring a democratic Internet. He says the company has "real concerns" about the carriers restricting access to their own services, which is why the company has invested in projects like municipal Wi-Fi, a WiMax partnership with Sprint Nextel and now, wireless spectrum.

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Major telecoms are pondering tiered Internet service for bandwidth-sucking Web sites like YouTube, but they say they have to because broadband services are clogging their networks. Steering clear of that controversy, Google execs say the move to buy spectrum is more about bringing Web access to the masses. "Mobile is the fastest and cheapest way to reach the largest number of people," says Chris Sacca, Google's head of special initiatives, adding that mobile "presents the biggest opportunity to get them on the Internet."

Read the whole story at CNET News.com »

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