Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Google calls for real-time auction of radio spectrum

It works for beanie babies and baseball cards, why not for chunks of the broadcast spectrum? Google has proposed the FCC set up a real-time auction system for part of the broadcast TV spectrum that will likely go on sale in 2009 as UHF stations (channels 51-69) vacate traditional broadcasting frequencies for digital broadcasting. The change over is mandated by law.

The spectrum real estate will be particularly valuable to companies wanting to set up new wireless broadband networks.

Google envisions a system similar to the one Google uses to sell ad space on its own site, according to the New York Times. Google's proposal came as the FCC is collecting public comments on the impending sale. Though it seems Google is working to corner every business short of pizza delivery, Google officials say they have no interest in actually bidding on any of the spectrum.

Instead, it seems Google is looking to increase the competition among ISPs and broadband digital networks (which by the way is woefully inadequate right now).

"The driving reason we’re doing this is that there are not enough broadband options for consumers,” said Adam Kovacevich, a spokesman for Google’s policy office in Washington. “In general, it’s the belief of a lot of people in the company that spectrum is allocated in an inefficient manner.”

In their proposal, Google executives argue that by permitting companies to resell the airwaves in a real-time auction would make it possible to greatly improve spectrum use and simultaneously create a robust market for innovative digital services. For instance, a company could resell its spectrum on an as-needed basis to other providers, the executives said in their formal proposal to the federal agency.

No comments: