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Google going wireless

Briefs | 05/07/2007 1:48 pm EDT

It appears as though Google is going to make a play to become a facilities-based wireless operator in the United States. The company has hired some high-powered lobbyists to influence the rules making process for the next spectrum auction for the 700 MHz band, which could net the US government upwards of US$10 billion. Mostly notably Richard Witt, former regulatory chief at MCI, is lobbying the government to make sure certain airwaves are made available for free and that new entrants have a better opportunity to get spectrum. But perhaps most telling about its wireless intentions is that Google has joined a consortium called Coalition for 4G in America, which includes Skype, Yahoo, DirecTV, EchoStar, Intel and Access Spectrum. The group has already issued two letters to the Federal Communications Commission, asking for policies such as packaged bidding. This would allow a potential bidder to acquire a nationwide licence as opposed to having to acquire licences on a market-by-market basis. The FCC is expected to release the rules in June.

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