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Google puts $4.6bn on 700MHz auction

Google said Friday that it is prepared to spend up to $4.6bn to secure itself a chunk of the 700MHz spectrum due to be sold off in the approaching US federal auction.

The web giant is one of the biggest backers of open access and is calling for more competition in the broadband space.

“So today, we’re putting consumers’ interests first, and putting our money where our principles are – to the tune of $4.6 billion,” said Chris Sacca, head of Special Initiatives.

Google, along with a number of other open access supporters, is encouraging the FCC to require the adoption of four types of “open” platforms as part of the auction, including open applications, which would allow consumers to download and utilise any software applications, content, or services they desire; open devices which means consumers should be able to use their devices with whatever wireless network they prefer; open services, which would allow resellers to acquire wireless services from a 700MHz licensee on a wholesale basis; and open networks, which would allow third parties to interconnect at any technically feasible point in a 700MHz licensee’s wireless network.

“The FCC is currently considering draft rules for the auction, and the reports we’ve heard are that those rules include some – but not all four – of the openness conditions,” said Sacca. “Guaranteeing open services and open networks would ensure that entrepreneurs starting new networks and services will have a fair shot at success, in turn giving consumers a wider choice of broadband providers.”

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