Maybe Google’s money can provide openness in the wireless spectrum

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The closed nature of the wireless services run by telecom companies has always seemed outdated to those of us who’ve existed primarily in the open innovation model of the Internet for the last fifteen or so years, but it’s been hard to make any headway in that world.

Now Google’s showing its willingness to put its money where its mouth is – from a Business Wire story:

oogle (NASDAQ:GOOG – News) announced today that should the Federal Communications Commission adopt a framework requiring greater competition and consumer choice, Google intends to participate in the federal government’s upcoming auction of wireless spectrum in the 700 megahertz (MHz) band.

In a filing with the FCC on July 9, Google urged the Commission to adopt rules for the auction that ensure that, regardless of who wins the spectrum at auction, consumers’ interests are served. Specifically, Google encouraged the FCC to require the adoption of four types of “open” platforms as part of the license conditions:

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Today, as a sign of Google’s commitment to promoting greater innovation and choices for consumers, CEO Eric Schmidt sent a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, stating that should the FCC adopt all four license conditions requested above, Google intends to commit a minimum of $4.6 billion to bidding in the upcoming 700 MHz auction.

While I have mixed feelings about companies using their money to influence policy, that does seem to be how business gets done in Washington, particularly in the world of the FCC. Maybe having a company willing to throw billions around to do what I perceive as the right thing (for a change) is the only way progress will be made.

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