It's official: Google will bid in 700 Mhz wireless auction

Google said Friday it will bid in the Federal Communication Commission's 700 megahertz wireless spectrum auction. The company also said it is bidding solo.

Google said Friday it will bid in the Federal Communication Commission's 700 megahertz wireless spectrum auction. The company also said it is bidding solo.

The auction, which gets underway Jan. 24, is an important one since it frees up spectrum occupied by television networks for wireless Internet services. Google had been expected to bid at the minimum reserve price of $4.6 billion, but it's unclear whether the search giant is serious about winning the auction.

In a statement CEO Eric Schmidt said:

"We believe it's important to put our money where our principles are. Consumers deserve more competition and innovation than they have in today's wireless world. No matter which bidder ultimately prevails, the real winners of this auction are American consumers who likely will see more choices than ever before in how they access the Internet."

So now what?

For starters, you won't be hearing much from Google about the auction after today. FCC rules dictate that Google has to keep quiet ahead of the auction.

Chris Sacca, head of special initiatives at Google, outlined the FCC timeline in a blog post:

Monday, December 3, is the deadline for prospective bidders to apply with the FCC to participate in the auction. Though the auction itself won't start until January 24, 2008, Monday also marks the starting point for the FCC's anti-collusion rules, which prevent participants in the auction from discussing their bidding strategy with each other.

Next stop--aside from some minor incremental steps--is Jan. 24.

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