FCC Draft Auction Rules A Win For Google, Hi-Tech Industry from CNN Money reports that Google’s wireless spectrum proposal gained backing from FCC chairman Kevin Martin. Ultimately, this could see Google buying wireless broadcast rights.
The USA Today article, New rules could rock wireless world, explains part of the proposal means that you might be able to pick any mobile device and not have to worry about if it will be supported by your mobile provider. However, this rule will only apply to the wireless spectrum that is being auctioned off. Although it is a limited slice of spectrum, the ruling is expected to change the wireless industry. One example given in the article:
The Apple iPhone is a prime example: Like most devices sold in the USA, the iPhone is, in industry parlance, “locked.” It allows only features and applications that Apple (AAPL) and AT&T (T) provide and works only with an AT&T contract.
As we know, Verizon and AT&T are against this ruling, since they currently model much of their offerings based on “locking” phones.
Google’s Public Policy Blog discussed the ruling, explaining that they want open applications, devices, services and networks.
Google has suggested in the past that it doesn’t want to actually buy wireless spectrum but instead wants the rules to allow those that do to have the ability to sell to others. But the CNN article said Google might indeed get in on the action:
The draft rule fits in Google’s plans. A person familiar with the company’s thinking told Dow Jones Newswires that high-level discussions are occurring at the Mountainview, Calif., company over whether to participate in the auction, and on what terms. Such a move would mark a considerable departure from Google’s mainstream business of being a content, rather than network, provider
Google’s post also supports this, that if the rules are changed to its liking, it might jump in:
Over the last several weeks, we’ve been taking a closer look at whether and how Google might participate meaningfully in the auction. Our analysis has confirmed that, under the originally proposed rules, the existing national wireless carriers are likely to prevail in the bidding process against a potential new entrant like Google.
The auction should begin next January. The rules now have to be approved by other FCC commissioners, with final ones expected to come out later this month or in August.
More coverage over at Techmeme.