The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a list of 266 bidders for the forthcoming 700MHz spectrum auction.

Among those companies listed as having accepted applications is Google Airwaves. Other interested parties include Alltel, AT&T, MetroPCS, Qualcomm, Verizon and investment company Vulcan Spectrum, which is headed up by Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen. 

Google has said that it is prepared to spend up to $4.6bn to secure itself a chunk of the spectrum. The web giant is one of the biggest backers of open access and is calling for more competition in the broadband space.

The 700MHz band of radio spectrum is currently occupied by television broadcasters but will be refarmed and auctioned off as part of the switchover to digital broadcasting.

Auction 73 will take place on January 24, 2008. The FCC has set a $10.4bn reserve on the auction and has maintained open access rules for the so called ‘C block’ of spectrum.