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Google Pledging to Bid $4.6bn to Open Spectrum

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the monies-and-mouths dept.

Google 99

csuftech writes "According to an article posted on vnunet, Google is pledging to bid at least $4.6bn for the FCC's upcoming auction of the 700MHz spectrum. However, Google would only be willing to pay said amount if the FCC agreed to a few conditions, namely, 'the wireless spectrum would allow consumers to download and use any software apps and content they want; allow handhelds to be used with any carrier; enable resellers to acquire wireless services at wholesale costs; and mandate that third parties such as ISPs interconnect at any point on the 700 megahertz band.' All this was disclosed in a letter [PDF] to FCC president Kevin Martin written by Google CEO Eric Schmidt."

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99 comments

Familiar (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19962223)

Er, haven't I seen this somewhere before [slashdot.org] ?

Re:Familiar (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19962513)

That's why we need the extra spectrum -- carrying all those dupes adds up.

The STUPID FUCKING DUPES on this shit site (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19962641)

With all this fucking technological prowess you fucking virgin nerds supposedly possess you'd think you could figure out a way to stop this fucking bullshit.

Mod me down if you agree!

Dupes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19962657)

And worse, the title is almost word for word!!

EDITORS: READ YOUR OWN GODDAMN SITE! [slashdot.org]

How hard is it to click on your own topic buttons? As I've said before, I'll subscribe when Slashdot can go a month without dupes (you know, so there's some indication that I'm paying you to do something).

Re:Familiar (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963381)

Er, haven't I seen this somewhere before [slashdot.org] ?
What do you expect? It's Scuttlemonkey. Good thing he's not being paid to be an editor, right?

Re:Familiar (1)

gaderael (1081429) | more than 6 years ago | (#19966597)

Out of the dark corners of the net comes the groan of the zombie Yogi Berra: BRAAAAAAAIIt's Deja vu all over agaiNNNNNNNNSSSSSSSSS!

I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (5, Interesting)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962225)

I do appreciate them fucking up the corporate status quo. This debacle is getting very interesting.

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (5, Interesting)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962331)

John Walls, vice president of public affairs at the CTIA, said that the pledge re-affirms his organisation's belief that the proposed deal smacks of foul play.

"The letter highlights Google's scheme to have the auction rigged with special conditions in its favour," he told vnunet.com.

"Nobody should be able to buy a custom-fit government regulation tailored to their business plan."


Yea, this reminds me of the guy form "Thank You For Smoking"

That has to be one of the most blatantly false statements that I've heard in a while. Wow. I guess this really is rocking the boat, and has a couple of carriers pretty scared.

Kudos to google, way to not be evil!

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962539)

"Nobody should be able to buy a custom-fit government regulation tailored to their business plan."
Well, that is technically what they're trying to do.

The fact that /. likes the terms Google is trying to impose does nothing to change the fact that they're buying government regulation.

Is it really that hard to imagine a situation where the regulations go in a different direction?

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (2, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962613)

Yes. It's pretty hard to imagine the FCC making any decision that doesn't involve the public getting screwed. History has taught us that they will accept restraints on freedom with alacrity, but will release those restraints only under force of law.

I'd love it if Google won this battle, but I'd just about place bets against it.

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (5, Insightful)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962703)

I think there are two points here:

1) The requirement that the highest bidder open part of their spectrum is not part of Google's business plan beyond the fact the open access is good for the net in general. That's why the claim is false.

2) Almost all of the tariffs in telco land are custom-fit goverment regulation tailored to their business plans. That makes the claim very hypocritical.

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (3, Insightful)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962789)

My point being that what the CTIA is advocating is that the people whom buy the spectrum get to implement their business plan, and theirs only. Hence, they would also be buying a custom-fit business plan with regulation.

Second, it is not custom-fit to Google. It's a generic fit for a large number of people. There are plenty of other business plans that Google could implement that would be much less free, and would be a "custom-fit," such as requiring everything that any user or piece of software does be able to be indexed by Google.

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (3, Insightful)

TopSpin (753) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963609)

Hence, they would also...
Opps.

Second, it is not custom-fit to Google.
It is, but it also happens to align with consumers. Companies like Apple and AT&T dream of leveraging exclusive products/services like iPhone into 'revenue sharing' arrangements with content providers like Google. Google is attempting to make that dream impossible. It goes directly to Google's business model.

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#19964477)

Google is attempting to make that dream impossible. It goes directly to Google's business model.
Your comment goes to the heart of the matter.
The GP claims that "It's a generic fit for a large number of people."
What he seems to be forgetting is that Google is not going to buy up all the spectrum across the country.

Their $4.6 B bid isn't just buying them 1/6th of the country, it's also going to get them access @ wholesale cost to the other 5/6ths.

And that is actually worth a lot more than $4.6 billion.

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (2, Informative)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 6 years ago | (#19964539)

What do you mean "Oops"?

My initial post was about how hypocritical it was for the CTIA spokesperson to make that statement, and act like Google was doing something new, drastic, and evil, when in reality the people he represents would take the same steps that he so vigorously condemns.

I never said anything about this not fitting in with Google's business plan, or that they were being altruistic. Just that it seems like their plans are shaking things up a bit and scaring some of the typical teleco's.

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (4, Interesting)

daigu (111684) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963811)

While I agree with the initial comment, the reality is that the process for formulating regulations gives businesses a great deal of input and effectively makes most regulations custom-fit for the industries involved. The only real difference here is that Google is challenging the existing custom fit model with another - one that is more congruent with the public interest.

Sure, it would be better if the regulations were primarily concerned with the public interest, but if we don't have that, this is certainly a better alternative than how it would have played out had Google not gotten involved.

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19963863)

you gotta admit it's nice to see the good guys get there first for once though, innit?

government regulations (3, Insightful)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 6 years ago | (#19964229)

The fact that /. likes the terms Google is trying to impose does nothing to change the fact that they're buying government regulation.

Google's plans for access to the airwaves is less of a regulation than regulating who can determine who and what can access the airwaves. These telcom insiders only want to prevent competition, whereas Google wants to introduce competition.

Falcon

Re:government regulations (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969253)

Google isn't just being a saint, either, and fighting for our rights, which apparently are at the mercy of corporations with lots of money (fun!). Google's business strategy is breaking up the current monopolistic industries as a whole so that it can compete in all those markets with it's own software. The current industries are far bigger than Google in the U.S., so they could never get into those markets unless they use their growing financial weight against them to allow some real competition.

Sure, Google has done some irritating things here and there but as a whole they stick up for consumer freedoms I think. I hope Google never reaches the point where it will be more profitable for them to start taking away freedoms in the spirit of most current monopolies. Hopefully never, since their current leaders seem to understand the benefit of actually going with the grain of consumer freedoms like FOSS, instead of against it, at least for some of their supported software.

Re:government regulations (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 6 years ago | (#19975685)

Google isn't just being a saint, either, and fighting for our rights, which apparently are at the mercy of corporations with lots of money (fun!). Google's business strategy is breaking up the current monopolistic industries as a whole so that it can compete in all those markets with it's own software.

Oh, I agree. Google is a business not a charity. However they are pressing for an open market against the incumbents businesses, which benefits the population. Just because an entity makes profit doesn't mean it's bad.

Sure, Google has done some irritating things here and there but as a whole they stick up for consumer freedoms I think. I hope Google never reaches the point where it will be more profitable for them to start taking away freedoms in the spirit of most current monopolies. Hopefully never, since their current leaders seem to understand the benefit of actually going with the grain of consumer freedoms like FOSS, instead of against it, at least for some of their supported software.

Google got big in part because it gave searchers relevant search results as well as "do no evil". However with new leadership Google can turn out the same as other businesses. If they do though another startup can just step up and do the same. Such as "Jimbo" Jimmy Wales from the wikipedia, he's working on a collaberative search engine.

Falcon

Re:government regulations (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | more than 6 years ago | (#19990283)

Oh, I agree. Google is a business not a charity. However they are pressing for an open market against the incumbents businesses, which benefits the population. Just because an entity makes profit doesn't mean it's bad. Google got big in part because it gave searchers relevant search results as well as "do no evil". However with new leadership Google can turn out the same as other businesses. If they do though another startup can just step up and do the same. Such as "Jimbo" Jimmy Wales from the wikipedia, he's working on a collaberative search engine.
Yesh, that was what I was trying to say, was that they have done and are doing a lot of good, even though getting money is high on their agenda. They still put many consumer-friendly and anti-monopolistic ideals ahead of a lot of other things.
 
Thanks for the info about Jimbo, I wasn't aware of it and am very happy that someone is working on such a project. I remember when Wikipedia started out as this strange project on the net which many thought seemed like a silly idea. Collecting information? Who needs it, we've got X, Y, and Z. Well, now not only is Wikipedia big enough to the point where it's an extremely useful resource for mostly unbiased information (moreso than most anything else), but X, Y, and Z are mostly gone now, gobbled up by money-hungry companies, or like Google have slightly given in to marketing pressures. It was disappointing when Ask bought out Teoma, that was a good search engine. Now it's littered with ads worse than Google is. At least Google can sometimes give you relevant links, unless it's about something someone is trying to sell.

SEs About, Teoma, and Mooter (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 6 years ago | (#19991533)

It was disappointing when Ask bought out Teoma, that was a good search engine.

Yea, I used to use Teoma a lot, when I didn't get a result or not what I was looking for from Google. Another I use a lot also is Mooter [mooter.com] . Alta Vista still returns good text search results, though I don't use it much. Another I use, for specific searchs, is About. Actually it was Google that led me to using About. I googled for some archeology and anthropology searchs and Google returned About's Archeology and anthropology [about.com] section in the top results. Later I googled for something in photogaphy and once again Google returned an About section Photography [about.com] , in the top spot.

Falcon

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#19965693)

The point is that if it isn't Google, it is Verizon or AT&T. Somebody will buy this spectrum.

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (1)

cmdr_beeftaco (562067) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970463)

Yeah the carriers have already bought a custom-fit government regulations, they paid good money for all this government protection. Who is google to change that?

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (0, Troll)

TopSpin (753) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963129)

Nobody should be able to buy a custom-fit government regulation tailored to their business plan.
That has to be one of the most blatantly false statements that I've heard in a while.
What, precisely, makes the statement false?

Just because Google's ambition happens to align with desires of the common consumer doesn't make the statement false. Google is attempting to use money to influence a regulatory body in its favor. Google would love to establish a precedent for their model. The benefits to Google are obvious.

Don't discard reason by denying the truth of the assertion. Instead, rationalize your wishes like so:

Dear CTIA,

    Someone you don't own can now afford to compete with your bribes to obtain regulatory favor.

        Enjoy!

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#19966823)

Nobody should have to propose the government to pay them more in order to improve their regulations. After all that's why taxes are supposed to be for.

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (1)

anothy (83176) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057343)

this is especially amusing since we're talking about CTIA here. the organization only exists to get legislation and regulation custom-tailored to the business interests of their members. they're like the GSMA in that regard, but without any technical work.

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (1)

xinjiang77 (1106823) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962333)

Google is just as corporate as all those other software companies. In fact, mabye even more so due to the fact that they are so active and willing to change or acquire so many companies.

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (1)

Azuma Hazuki (955769) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962439)

They're only "fucking up the corporate status quo" because they're not in on this as a corporation yet. What will happen once they do snag a plurality, if not a majority, of the 700 MHz spectrum? Who's to say they're not just posturing in the name of "freedom" now and won't do something horribly evil once they get their piece of the pie? In the best-case scenario all they're doing is making the 700 MHz spectrum safe for themselves at no expense to the common person...I don't want to think about the worst.

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (2, Insightful)

thegnu (557446) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962573)

Who's to say they're not just posturing in the name of "freedom" now and won't do something horribly evil once they get their piece of the pie?

Yeah, I've been saying that for years. Then I finally stopped, because it's been, up to this point, like waiting for the apocalypse: every few years, people start screaming about the end of times, then nothing happens, and people are quiet for a little while.

When the hell is it going to happen? I've been waiting for it to happen for a long time. I'm sure someday it will, but criticizing them for doing something positive because they MAY be posturing to pull an Anakin Skywalker all over the little children is kind of weird. I mean, they keep posturing for the thrust, but it never comes. Isn't that why Steve Ballmer said Google had no business plan? Not enough thrusting?

Re:I'm not a Google Fanboy, but... (4, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963181)

You make a fine point but in addition opinions and controls over Google today don't have to be the same tomorrow. If they turn evil then we have some measured control we can exert. How effectively we exert it is a different question but theoretically they couldn't start dumping toxic waste into Seaworld so there is no point in fearing the impending apocalypse which involves my porn viewing habits being leaked to the press because I opposed legislation that Google later wanted. So far they seem to want to play nice. I say encourage this corporate attitude, embrace it! Ben and Jerry's was quite successful while holding onto corporate ethics, I see no reason why Google couldn't do the same thing.

The particular language Google wants added seems counter to their interests but creates a free market where you compete on quality of service which sounds good to me and sounds good for them given the nature of their products. It adds risk to the process but Google is acting as if it has nothing to fear from a little friendly competition and in reality, they don't. If only the big telecoms of the world would see this as a good thing. Unlike Sprint buying sprectrum and not even using it thus preventing others from using it.

+1 karma (4, Insightful)

Xeth (614132) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962287)

I guess this balances out the "Don't be Evil" scale a bit in their favor, eh?

To preclude those decrying false philanthropy, yes, of course Google will benefit. There is, however, such a thing as a mutually beneficial agreement. And this really looks very nice from where I'm standing

Re:+1 karma (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962419)

How dare you speak of good business practices in this day and age of immediate quarterly gains! I really just don't know if the business folks in charge these days are that stupid, that they just don't understand what they were taught in economics (yes, modern business classes actually do teach how things can and should work out for everyones benefit like a nice and pretty capitolist economy should), or if it is just because so many current business "leaders" got there by inheretence, marraige, or purchase, or maybe it is just greed. But I would think that greed is more than capable of making mutually beneficial deals, so maybe its jealousy that drives the I must have it all and right now behavior.

Re:+1 karma (0, Flamebait)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962699)

Censoring free speech sites in China vs Cheap wireless broadband in the US.
Sorry for me that just doesn't cut it. I am not saying that Google is evil incarnate but judging them by their ideal of "Don't be Evil" I just can not equate the two.
On the plus side they haven't turned in any Bloggers I know of to the Chinese government.

Re:+1 karma (4, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962921)

Censoring free speech sites in China vs Cheap wireless broadband in the US.
Actually, they don't Censor free speech sites in China.

In fact that statement doesn't even scan.

There are no free speech sites in China. There is no free speech in China.

Google can't censor someone's site.

What Google does is restricts their search results as per the guidelines of the Chinese government. They could have decided that the search results were too important to censor, but had they done that, the only difference would be that Google wouldn't be available at all in China. They're doing much more good by offering some service in China than they would be by offering none. If they had a better negotiating position, then I'd agree with you, but they literally had none.

Re:+1 karma (1)

madsenj37 (612413) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963055)

Google probably does more good than harm with this, but their mission statement is not about doing good. It is not about having a positive net impact. It is about doing no evil.

Re:+1 karma (3, Insightful)

earnest murderer (888716) | more than 6 years ago | (#19964319)

It's not even a mission statement. It's a cute quip that got bandied about and became an "informal corporate motto".

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. [google.com] Access to the 700 mhz spectrum is key to their ends. If they do not acquire it either outright or by leasing it from a third party, they will have failed in a major way. The argument for the rule change is insurance against that failure.

Re:+1 karma (2, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969591)

It's not even a mission statement. It's a cute quip that got bandied about and became an "informal corporate motto".
If you're talking about the "don't be evil" line, then you're deeply wrong. That phrase has tremendous legal importance to Google because it appears in their S1. An S1 (AKA a "red herring") is the document you file with the SEC that tells investors what your company does and what risks it takes. If you say, "we sell bottled water, but only to the criminally insane," in your S1, then your investors know up-front what business they're getting into, and have no grounds to complain when you don't make as much money as someone selling water to the general public.

The broad disclaimer in Google's S1 which is further explained in terms of the potential for missed revenue is a legal tool which most other public corporations do not have. It allows them to make choices that favor ethics over profits in a way that other companies cannot (literally cannot, as they would be open to lawsuits from their shareholders for not maximizing profits). Other companies' only guideline for ethics is the law... poor yardstick though it is.

That's not to say that Google is guaranteed to uphold this phrase, or any given person's interpretation of it, but it gives them the option to be ethical in situations where most companies (public ones, anyway) have no option.

Re:+1 karma (1)

Temporal (96070) | more than 6 years ago | (#19965545)

Google probably does more good than harm with this, but their mission statement is not about doing good. It is not about having a positive net impact. It is about doing no evil.

The motto is not "Do no evil". It's "Don't be evil".

Re:+1 karma (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963823)

AAMOF, if I have a site and you know the URL, we can keep using the site without it being indexed on Google. If Google indexed it and the government found it, we'd be in shitloads of trouble if the government was using force to shut down sites like it.

While Google not indexing these things might keep word about pro-freedom sites from getting to the people so quickly, it's also going to make it harder for the government to find them in order to shut them down.

Re:+1 karma (1)

Temporal (96070) | more than 6 years ago | (#19965563)

There are plenty of ways to tell Google not to index your site. robots.txt, meta noindex, etc.

Re:+1 karma (1)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963993)

Don't forget to mention that when certain results are not shown, Google clearly states this on the page more or less saying "Hey, you're government is screwing you."
Regards,
Steve

Re:+1 karma -1 = 0 (1)

Light_Wong (1129373) | more than 6 years ago | (#19964795)

IT seems to me that Google IS supporting the Chinese government's internet CENSORSHIP.

The Chinese government controls the routers and IP traffic thereby keeping people from reaching the sites they find objectionable. Google keeps people from finding out about the existence of those sites by striking them from their search engine results. Last time I checked, aiding and abetting was a crime in this country.

What does no evil mean to you?

God's busy right now. Can I help you? {-: Muahahahaha!!!!
---- Satan ----

Re:+1 karma -1 = 0 (1)

gronofer (838299) | more than 6 years ago | (#19965647)

The Chinese government controls the routers and IP traffic thereby keeping people from reaching the sites they find objectionable. Google keeps people from finding out about the existence of those sites by striking them from their search engine results. Last time I checked, aiding and abetting was a crime in this country.

When you say "this country", I assume you are not referring to China? The Chinese government would hardly make it a crime to aid and abet the Chinese government. I can't off-hand think of any other country whose laws would apply in China.

Google has the same choices as any other organisation in any particular country: a) follow its government's laws and unwritten regulations b) ignore the rules and try to avoid getting caught or punished d) ignore the rules and tolerate/enjoy the punishment c) stay out of the country.

Re:+1 karma -1 = 0 (1)

Light_Wong (1129373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20098331)

True enough... Google has a choice to contend with. Whether it is nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous opportunity, or take arms against the sea of trouble and thereby miss out on maximization of share holder value. Legal != Evil

Re:+1 karma -1 = 0 (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969763)

Last time I checked, aiding and abetting was a crime in this country.
  1. Don't be hyperbolic. Limiting search results is not a crime in the U.S. (though it might expose you to civil suits)
  2. This country's laws have no bearing on what the Chinese government does. If they did, then Cisco and Yahoo would be out millions, perhaps even billions of dollars.
  3. Google's choice was not to display all results or just some. It was to provide search in China or not. There was no option that involved showing the Chinese people the results that you (and I) might have wanted them to see. None. If there were, I'd agree with you (and so would Google).
  4. Note that Chinese Internet users who find a way around the Great Firewall, still have access to unfiltered Google, just as they always have. The only difference now is that they have easy access to a filtered version of Google.

What does no evil mean to you?
It means that in all things, you measure the good against the ill and decide to do the most good. There are deeply gray areas, and dealing with an oppressive regime is certainly one of those areas. I'd say, however, that Google does the best they can in this respect. They refuse to be actively involved in harming Chinese citizens (unlike their competition), but they do agree to limit search results in order to provide any at all. I'm sure the average, Internet-using Chinese citizen would agree that Google is useful to them. It's just not as useful as it could be if they lived in a free society. Fixing that is something that I'm sure Google would love to do, but it's not realistically something they can accomplish.

Re:+1 karma -1 = 0 (1)

Light_Wong (1129373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20098439)

I believe my hyperbole is matched only by your whitewash. You are correct, of course, in that there has been no crime committed in the sense no Chinese law was broken. However, there are U.S. laws broken by Google, Yahoo and Cisco regarding bribery. They are not out the millions of which you speak because those laws are difficult to enforce, even when the IRS has direct evidence. All that aside, aiding a repressive government is at best questionable and at worst wrong in every sense I was taught.

I'm sure the average, Internet-using Chinese citizen would agree that Google had first to choose to ally themselves with that government and then to play by it's rules. We all know that this was profit first; the rationalization comes later. The deeply gray areas of which you speak seem rather darker than lighter, to me. It's only my opinion.

As to the question of fixing the society in which the average Chinese finds themself, there is no question that Google has not the power. However they were not required to assist it either.

"Business seems to know no reason. Get the profit; it's the season! Fa-la-la-la, la la la, la!"

How you come to believe that Google is reasonable or that they are doing "the most good," would make for an interesting discussion.

Free Market Implications (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963187)

I mentioned this on my blog [bfccomputing.com] on Friday - when Dr. Ron Paul was at Google [youtube.com] he said that the spectrum should just be auctioned off to the highest bidder and let the Free Market sort it out. I don't think all the folks in the room at Google thought that was the right answer at the time, but it's good to see the decision makers at Google have taken that kind of advice to heart and applied Corporate Good to the equation.

Just because it goes to the high bidder doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be Verizon or Microsoft who will subvert the public good with the property. To all those who constantly rejoin here that corporations have to be evil - this is a good counter-example; good corporate governors just need to be astute enough to make the proper financial plays that will mutually benefit the corporation and society. Granted, we could use a bit more of that.

Is it just me, or (2, Funny)

woodchip (611770) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962315)

is it not a bad idea to tell people how much you willing to bid in an upcoming auction?

RTFL (5, Insightful)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962377)

It says a *minimum* of $4.6b. This is the reserve price of the spectrum. In fact there's a nice jab at the industry protectionism that brought about the reserve. Google is just saying that they're willing to ante up. Were there to be other bids, there is still ample room left in the letter for Google to bid.

Re:RTFL (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962687)

True. I think that, along with the mutual benefit thing (unfortunately of late I've become rather neutral on google, so I would love to be pleasantly surprised), this is also just good tactics. They're holding all the aces, and they know it.


They've probably got a bit of good exposure, and managed to weed out the companies who would flirt around the issue without ever throwing their hat into the ring, so to speak. The bar has been set at $4.6B, and that's going to be the admission price to play with the big boys - the kids can go home, it's past their bed time. They've also named their conditions; this is how bargaining works. They've probably got a key issue among those stated, and a few are probably for giving away for the appearance of meeting them half way. Just my $.02.

About the "bar" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19962829)

The "bar" is a bit more strategic than it may appear. The FCC explicitly stated that the minimum that they need to pull from this auction is. . .$4.6B. AT&T previously attacked the open-access requirements on the assumption that such requirements would devalue the spectrum. Now, with Google bidding to the FCC's satisfaction on the spectrum WITH the open-access requirements, AT&T's argument against the requirements falls apart.

End run on Net Neutrality Opposition (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962945)

Yes, to be sure, there are some conditions in their letter that have dependencies: what relative use is the ability to put whatever device(phone, network adapter, etc.) on any vendor's network if there's only one network to choose from because the auction winner was not required to wholesale to other providers? Yes, you still get your Linux PDA on there, but you're still paying $$$ and getting your non-Brittany-Spears-of-the-week-video traffic slowed down to accommodate the vapid teenybopper who paid extra for the "content" from the network provider on top of the connection charge.

(no offense to those non-vapid teens out there. I was non-vapid as a teen also, but i know from experience that the vapid far outnumber us. BTW, it doesn't really get better.)

That said, I'm sure all of the conditions listed have a net benefit to Google. This seems to me to be a recognition that using legislation to enforce "Net Neutrality" is fighting evil with evil (and not to mention, doomed to failure evil.) So, Google identifies a once in a generation opportunity to be the hero by providing the "third pipe" the REA (http://www.usda.gov/rus/telecom/index.htm) and other groups are looking for, while ensuring that said pipe is tailored to its ad delivering, web crawling needs.

Seems to me like their needs (at least most of the way up the protocol stack) align with mine and most other /.ers.

Re:Is it just me, or (4, Funny)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962787)

Google: I'm going to bid $4.6 billion dollars tomorrow at tomorrows auction.

ATT: Cool... (Crap! I know we can't beat them with cash reserves so I'll bid high and force them to spend their fortune for it!)

*The very next day*

Auctioneer: Here we are with a block of airwaves. Starting bid.... One billion dollars....

ATT: $10 BILLION DOLLARS!!

Auctioneer: $10 billion is the current bid. Do I hear $11 billion dollars... Going once...

Google: *yawns*

Auctioneer: Going twice...

ATT: Hey wait a minute!

Auctioneer: Going three times! Sold to the gentleman from ATT for $10 billion dollars.

ATT: But! But! But!

Google: Hey ATT if you don't want those airwaves, give us call us after the opening bell after your quarterly reports and we'll talk.

dupe duppy dupe dupe. (-1, Redundant)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962335)

dupester [slashdot.org]
from friday, suckas

Re:dupe duppy dupe dupe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19962737)

don't aggro the /. fanboys.

you gotta admit, though, its kinda funny... /. dupes, and you get modded redundant for mentioning it :|

Re:dupe duppy dupe dupe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19963751)

Could it be because it has been said before?

This just in... (5, Funny)

the.nourse.god (972290) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962343)

With 2 seconds left in the auction, AT&T puts in a $4,600,000,001 bid.

Re:This just in... (3, Interesting)

MonGuSE (798397) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962523)

Ebay cancels auction due to a DMCA takedown notice. AT&T already owns the patent on monopolistic intervention.

Seriously though the Google proposal is the only one that actually creates a level playing field for any concerned service providers. The problem the other companies have is that it allows for other companies to compete with them instead of granting them government approved monopolies. I hope the FCC wakes up and sees Google's proposal for what it is a sensible solution for all parties concerned and a win win for commerce/citizens. If a government granted monopoly is granted and the tax payers get 6 billion for it up front but in the long run have less productivity in the area concerned and the space is utilized to the fullest then that 6 billion isn't worth squat. This would just be another non forward looking proposal by a government body that is incapable of planning for tomorrow let alone 5 years from now.

Re:This just in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19962559)

mod parent up! i spit out my coffee +5 priceless

I used to hear about this type of thing in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19962533)

now it's nice to hear that it could actually happen.

Market failure at work? (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962535)

Google won't bid if evil business models are allowed, so I guess they are tacitly admitting that their open access business model has no hope of competing against the telcos' "lock 'em in, and then lock 'em in some more" business model. It'll be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Re:Market failure at work? (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963331)

Google won't bid if evil business models are allowed, so I guess they are tacitly admitting that their open access business model has no hope of competing against the telcos' "lock 'em in, and then lock 'em in some more" business model. It'll be interesting to see how this one plays out.
No, you've got it exactly wrong. What they're saying is that their open access model can compete effectively against the locked-in model. The problem is that there currently isn't any spectrum available for open access. They are requesting that this change.

Re:Market failure at work? (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963981)

The problem is that there currently isn't any spectrum available for open access.

No, if Google buys some 700MHz spectrum in the auction they can set the rules for that spectrum to open access.

Re:Market failure at work? (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963735)

I think it's more fundamental; google is trying to commoditize access routes to their services. This is just a step in that direction. By decreasing costs of accessing their stuff, they're increasing the value of their services.

Re:Market failure at work? (1)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 6 years ago | (#19964929)

I think you hit the nail on the head. Until I saw this news item, I had never realized how brilliant Google's business model is.

It is in the service provider's (AT&T, etc.) best interest to charge you as much as they can for as little service as possible. The final content provider's (Slashdot, etc.) only get revenue if they can convince you to go to their site instead of other sites. But Google doesn't have to compete; they get payed more when more people go more places (and thus see more ads) regardless of where those places are. So they want the web browsing experience to be as pleasant as possible to encourage more people to use it more often. Since they own so much market share that it is easier to double the size of the pie than it is to double the percentage of it they have.

The thought of an advertising company's interests aligning with the customer's interests seems dissonant, but in this case they've made it work.

Re:Market failure at work? (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 6 years ago | (#19968509)

You're right, and don't forget that Verizon Wireless, which (depending on who you talk to) is the largest carrier in the US, puts custom software on their phones (BREW) that is the same as, but not compatible with, Java. That means no Google maps, no stand-alone Gmail, no Google home page, etc. The main reason VZW does this is to extort money from providers (just like non-net neutrality). Google is just hoping to keep their mobile business model.

Don't get it (2, Interesting)

An Ominous Coward (13324) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962611)

If Google wins the auction, why would they need the Government to makes some rules about who can access it? If Google owns the spectrum, don't -they- get to set the rules?

Re:Don't get it (4, Informative)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962651)

There will probably be multiple winners, and Google wants the government to set the terms for all of the winners, including Google's competitors.

Re:Don't get it (2, Informative)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962871)

Google won't own the spectrum. They'll own the government license for the spectrum. They're still publicly owned airwaves, just privately operated.

Re:Don't get it (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963401)

If Google wins the auction, why would they need the Government to makes some rules about who can access it?


There won't be just one winner of the auction. Google is saying they'll bid only if the rules are that every winner must provide certain types of open access. They are basically attacking the premise that not requiring open access serves the public interest, at a minimum, by increasing the willingness of purchasers to bid for the spectrum.

Single buyer ? (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962719)

It looks from the summary that the is FCC selling all of the 700MHz band to a single bidder. Why don't they sell geographical junks of it? It's very hard for a monopoly to arise on a limited resource because the price of each additional unit goes up as you are trying to bid for the next on. What the FCC is doing here is
a) stealing the resource (the FCC don't own the band, they're not selling it they are holding it hostage for a ransom)
b) selling it as a whole, making it possible for a inefficient monopoly to arise

Re:Single buyer ? (4, Insightful)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 6 years ago | (#19962841)

Because it would drastically lower how valuable the spectrum is. If your service can't be "country-wide", then it's not of much value.

I wouldn't buy a cell phone that works in San Fran but not in New York.

In fact, you'd have a hard time getting me to buy ANYTHING that doesn't work country-wide, and I imagine that a lot of people feel the same.

Not to mention all the technical issues with interference near the boundaries, etc. It would just be a total mess for no verifiable gain, especially since there are a large number of frequencies which can do nearly the same things (though not identical) which renders your monopoly argument moot.

Re:Single buyer ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#19981195)

You Americans can be so parochial. I wouldn't buy a cell phone these days that didn't work worldwide.

what do you think of that? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19963089)

what do these dick suckers want with all the airwaves?

My company is also bidding. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19963411)

My company plans to bid $10B for the same spectrum.

And, like Google, we plan to ask for some concessions from the FCC with regard to its usage. These concessions align pretty close to what Google is asking for, I believe.

First and foremost, it is to be available for all to use without access fees. We also demand the revocation of the United States of America's Bill of Rights, the 1st through 12th amendments to the constitution, and a picture of Bea Arthur naked. And a football helmet full of cottage cheese.

*snort* Ok - that's maybe a little less than Google asking for the revocation of all copyrights, trade marks, and IP that will ever exist.

Excellent quotes (2, Interesting)

jonniesmokes (323978) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963487)

-- begin excerpt --

The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) has dismissed Martin's plan as "Silicon Valley welfare", claiming that it gives Google an unfair advantage.

John Walls, vice president of public affairs at the CTIA, said that the pledge re-affirms his organisation's belief that the proposed deal smacks of foul play.

"The letter highlights Google's scheme to have the auction rigged with special conditions in its favour," he told vnunet.com.

"Nobody should be able to buy a custom-fit government regulation tailored to their business plan."

-- end excerpt --

I think John Walls might want to add, "except Baby Bells of course." Its so not fair when a brand new billion dollar company gets into your game.

Re:Excellent quotes (1)

nickmalthus (972450) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963807)

Google's "business plan" sounds eerily similar to a free market. What is so unfair about allowing customers to demand and purchase content, handsets, and service according to their desire and needs instead of the suppliers locking them into a technologies and services that they control with an iron fist? GSM and OMA technology boasts of interoperability yet in American carriers cripple the technologies to maximize the profits of their own service offerings.

Re:Excellent quotes (1)

anothy (83176) | more than 6 years ago | (#20057405)

Walls (really CTIA corporately) doesn't particularly care whether they're Bells (baby or Ma) or not, as long as they're CTIA members. they're a membership organization explicitly aimed at getting legislation and regulations put in place to favor their members (which are heavily dominated by folks with a CDMA and AMPS legacy). the CTIA's a dominant force in north america; in europe, you get the GSMA playing the same role. i've been at events where GSMA reps told their members about all the wonderful legislation and regulations they were getting passed around the world to ensure GSM stayed globally dominant; by the end of his pitch i'd been totally freed from any remaining dilusions about GSMA (or CTIA) having any consideration for the public good.

Not just Google (2, Interesting)

Darth Cider (320236) | more than 6 years ago | (#19963719)

Google is putting up money, but its proposal to the FCC is backed by Intel, Yahoo!, eBay, Skype, DirecTV, EchoStar, and Access Spectrum (which constitute The Coalition for 4G in America), but there are many other groups also in favor of open access. See this write-up on Daily Wireless [dailywireless.org] for a good overview, and read Google's own explanation [blogspot.com] on its Public Policy Blog.

I wish Slashdot paid more attention to wireless goings-on. For instance, just this week, Sprint announced it is forming a 20 year alliance with Clearwire. The two companies are rolling out WiMax phone and broadband services, and together spent billions to control spectrum that reaches nearly everyone in the U.S. Wouldn't it be nice if they had to lower their price to consumers because of open-access competition in the 700mhz band?

Robert X. Cringely's latest article is a good read, too. "When Elephants Dance: Get ready (finally) for faster Internet speeds at lower prices" [pbs.org]

I live in a rural place that is lucky to have one broadband provider, a cable company. (Nope, no DSL.) If open access succeeds, small wireless ISPs will sprout up in places like this, which big companies always seem to neglect. Those ISPs would be paying wholesale prices for their spectrum, too, so regional monopolies like my cable company will finally face some pressure to lower their prices, or else to compete on speed and service.

Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19964077)

I love the Sinclair Spectrum, it's great to see Google take such an interest in retro computing.

Re:Yay! (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#19967221)

Don't expect to get modded up "Funny" or anything.

Most of the Slashdotters are Yanks who are still in bed anyway and never saw the Sinclair Spectrum - they had the infinitely less preferable Commodore 64.

Obligatory Ramones (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#19964465)

WE WANT THE AIRWAVES

nine to five and five to nine
ain't gonna take it, it's our time
we want the world and we want it now
we're gonna take it anyhow

we want the airwaves
we want the airwaves
we want the airwaves baby
if rock is gonna stay alive

oh yeah
well all right
let's rock tonite
all night

where's your guts and will to survive
and don't you wanna keep rock & roll music alive
mr. Programmer, I got my hammer
and I'm gonna smash my, smash my radio

we want the airwaves
we want the airwaves
we want the airwaves baby
if rock is gonna stay alive

~

How does Google make money again? (1)

--daz-- (139799) | more than 6 years ago | (#19964885)

Can someone please explain to me not only how Google makes money, but makes THAT much money that they can spend 4.6bn on various things like this? (I'm serious, this isn't rhetorical or sarcastic -- either something doesn't add up, or my perception of how much money can be made from tiny little advertisements on web pages is WAYYYY out of whack)

Re:How does Google make money again? (2, Informative)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 6 years ago | (#19965169)

Advertising. Google has been generating (very roughly) around $2,500,000,000+ in revenue each quarter and clears well over a 500,000,000. Most of this is generated through ads. Their Ad-sense program accounts for nearly half of all profit made by Google. The rest is 'site' revenues, which could be any number of things, but I'm sure ads play an important role here as well.

Re:How does Google make money again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19965271)

And they don't pay their stock holders a dime.

Re:How does Google make money again? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#19965673)

As someone who owns Google stock, let me explain how they make money:

Ads. If you read their K-1 filing, you'll see that their only real expenses are people, servers, and real estate for people and servers. They make money hand over fist. Check out their cash flow.

capitalist pig-dogs (1)

brainspank (515274) | more than 6 years ago | (#19965605)

Screw Google and all that "allowing people to have a choice" crap. I want a world where government controls all the frequencies, Kenneth! I am absolutely upset that a company is buying my freedoms out of the hands of politicians. Those bastards! Those a-holes want to buy from the government the ability for me - ME! - the ability to use software, hardware and services - at f-ing wholesale prices!! Can you believe that socialist pig crap! Why... the whole f-ing internet could fart without paying a tax of carbon credits! The huge manatee!

finnish spectrum (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 6 years ago | (#19966929)

Interestingly there was an article today in the largest newspaper of Finland about a recently launched service that uses the 450 mhz ex-NMT network as a wireless broadband (it's been on-line since April). Initial costs for the devices (modem and antenna if needed etc) are a little below 400 euros, and monthly fee is 38 euros at the moment (1-1,5 MB down / 300-600 KB up)... The service should cover the whole country by 2009. The network is being maintained by government owned / private company, which rents capacity to service providers. The company itself can't act as service provider. The connection can be established as far as 50 kilometres from the basestation, which uses Flash-odfm technology. The service competes with Wimax and 3G... There actually is an official objective about being the first country in the world which is totally covered by a wireless broadband..

Re:finnish spectrum (1)

virginiajim (1042226) | more than 6 years ago | (#19968709)

I'd like to see some US cities do this, like LA, then a state, like Calif, and eventually expand the model country-wide. That's where we are going anyway, it looks like, except for really heavy needs where fiber is still necessary, such as trunk lines.
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