Google faces uphill fight for unlicensed white space plan

The government and private business are colluding to limit competition in wireless services, to keep prices high. High prices for service justify high prices for spectrum.

Google white space radio prototype
The plans by Google (and others) to open up the old white space between TV channels for unlicensed use is wonderful, but it faces an uphill battle.

The reason is the fight Google walked away from, the 700 MHz auction Verizon won with a bid of $9.63 billion. (This is a prototype of Google's white space radio, from Michael Marcus' Spectrum Talk.)

Verizon doesn't have that much cash. To pay for its spectrum Verizon must borrow money. Before they lend it bankers (or investors) must be assured they will get a return.

But how can Verizon give that assurance if Google (and others) are allowed to offer essentially the same service for free?

Thus Verizon will argue that more unlicensed spectrum can't be opened up, just as it has fought expansion of WiFi. Without its monopoly, it can't justify its high bid for spectrum.

Ever since the Clinton Administration decided that spectrum should be sold, privatizing public property, this has been a quid pro quo.

The government and private business are colluding to limit competition in wireless services, to keep prices high. High prices for service justify high prices for spectrum.

This obvious conflict of interest reminds me of the unspoken racism Sen. Obama sought to address a few weeks ago. What we don't talk about remains true, and it poisons us all.

Until we can talk honestly about the impact of spectrum sales on spectrum policy, we can never create honest policies which regulate spectrum in the public interest.

Because the private interest will remain in the way.