Google's Next Spectrum Battle

By David Needle

March 28, 2008

Search giant pushes to open up unused 'white space' to mobile devices.

Google "lost" the recently concluded government auction of 700MHz spectrum, but it's continuing its push to open up the airways.

Many observers think Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) didn't care that much about winning any of the spectrum (the big winners were Verizon Wireless and AT&T) because it had already won its primary objective.

In agreeing to be one of the $4.6 billion bidders in the spectrum auction, Google successfully lobbied for rules that require the spectrum be open to a multitude of devices when it becomes available. That includes mobile devices due out later this year based on Google's Android phone spec.

The latest push by Google concerns making the "white space" or unused portion of broadcast spectrum, available for mobile broadband services. Google is one of eight technology companies in the White Spaces Coalition; the others are Microsoft, Dell, Intel, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, HP, Philips, and Earthlink.

But last August the FCC tested and rejected prototype devices designed to exploit the white space (empty spectrum) between television channels. Microsoft later sent the FCC another device for evaluation, citing a faulty component in the first ones sent.

This week, in a letter sent to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Google's telecom and media counsel Richard Whitt, made a detailed plea for opening up the spectrum and noted additional safeguards to minimize, if not eliminate, interference issues. To read the rest of this article, click here. 

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