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700 MHz Auction Begins Tomorrow

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the ya'll-ready-for-this dept.

Wireless Networking 187

necro81 writes "On Thursday, after much speculation and wrangling, the FCC will begin auctioning licenses to the coveted 700 MHz band that will be vacated by analog TV in 2009. The NY Times has a good summary of the players (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Google, et al.), how the auction will work, how Google has already scored an open networks victory, and what it could all mean for consumers. The auction will go on for several months, but you can keep tabs on the bids at this FCC site."

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Spasebo. (4, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154012)

I plan to buy the frequency band myself, and just endlessly broadcast a black-and-white image of myself, accompanied by Russian martial music.

Big businesses win, we lose! (-1, Redundant)

dattaway (3088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154034)

Our public land and airwaves for sale to the highest bidder.

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (4, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154102)

Our public land and airwaves for sale to the highest bidder.
How else do you propose to allocate it? By handing it out to political cronies? By giving it to whichever special interest group squeals the loudest? By letting wireless spectrum be another kind of pork that representatives can fight over? Or you could just leave it unregulated, and give the spectrum to whoever wins the war to have the most powerful transmitter.

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22154346)

Or you could just leave it unregulated, and give the spectrum to whoever wins the war to have the most powerful transmitter.

I'd love to see this actually tried for once. With todays technology, power isn't the only way to get past noise.

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154758)

It's called the 2.4Ghz ISM band. One can argue that leaving it partially unregulated (there are power caps to avoid the problem described in the grandfather post) has been the biggest boon to personal radio use since the invention of the CB radio. Wireless internet as we know it today is all thanks to the FCC leaving a tiny sliver of spectrum open to whoever wants to use it (within reason).

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (2, Interesting)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154512)

It could be given out to, in the case of broadcasters, to strictly locally owners assuring a decentralised media that is not controlled by large corporations. Remember the FCCs ownership rules? They prevented a company from owning more than a handful of radio stations and more than one or two stations in a particular market, assuring a broad diversity of sources of information, news,etc. Now the FCC has pretty much gutted these rules, and a few large corporations now control most radio outlets (clear channel), tv outlets, and now broadcasters will be allowed to own newspapers as well, furthering the consolidation. Allegedly we have free speech, but the means to free expression is increasingly being controlled by a few large corporations who, due to their rapidly expanding power and how they own government and seem to be above the law, the laws are made for them and government is a puppet that they own.

There was a push to get low power FM passed through, which would not have interfered with larger stations and which would have been required to be licenced to only small locally owners, but was opposed by corporations, on a complete lie that it would interfere with their large high power stations, which is a lie since the lpfm licences would require an engineering study to assure they didnt. The corporations just didnt want people freely expressing themselves and are hell bent on controlling all forms of communication.

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22154660)

Is it still a "false dichotomy" if you have five unrealistic options? Have you discovered the false pentchotomy?

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155274)

Please feel free to suggest another way of allocating the spectrum that isn't one of the five options. That is what I asked.

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155408)

Money is the only way to decide this? Really?

Lets apply your argument to water rights:

How else do you propose to allocate it? By handing it out to political cronies? By giving it to whichever special interest group squeals the loudest? By letting [water] be another kind of pork that representatives can fight over? Or you could just leave it unregulated, and give the [water] to whoever wins the war to have the most powerful [pump].

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155828)

One difference is that while water is water and there is no substitute, there are other frequency bands than 700MHz. It's not as if companies are being invited to bid for total control over all electromagnetic spectrum at once. And yes, don't you have water meters and water bills?

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (5, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154188)

WTF??

Let big business pay for the privilege of using our spectrum. This is a good way to raise revenue without raising taxes. I would argue that we don't charge enough for spectrum. It's our most renewable resource.

This isn't the ANWR drilling we are talking about dude. What do you want, lowest bidder? Seriously, you are king of the world...how would you handle this?

What exactly did you lose?

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (3, Funny)

phobos13013 (813040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154224)

Ask the Ramones

"We Want The Airwaves"

9 to 5 and 5 to 9
Ain't gonna take it
It's our time
We want the world
and we want it know
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 n' 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

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (4, Interesting)

dattaway (3088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154464)

This isn't the ANWR drilling we are talking about dude. What do you want, lowest bidder? Seriously, you are king of the world...how would you handle this?

DHSS. Use the same technology in our wireless cards. Make this a truely public spectrum. There's always a technological solution to a government problem. Why sell what we can use for free?

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (5, Insightful)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154694)

The problem with your argument is these auctions basically give control to the wealthiest corporate interests, which do not at all correspond with what is the best interest of the population or which promotes individual self expression and free speech most. It allows these wealthy interests to control channels of information and communication and hinder innovation and free speech. We are best making sure as many independant voices can be heard and making sure as many people can innovate and use the radio waves how they see fit rather than having a few large corporations controlling them. You can do this while also assuring that the radio stations do not transmit over each other and chaos does not result. The purpose of licencing is to prevent chaos, not to give exclusive control to large corporations, which it has become. The airwaves should not even be owned but licenced, the public should own the airwaves and determine how they are utilised, since they are a limited resource. AS for how we choose how they should be utilised, why not let the people choose through an election how they are run, and why not require, for instance, some public access stations to be provided which would give airtime slots to local groups, organisations, individuals etc. Quite frankly having a lottery is a better way of determining who should have access to broadcast resources, then giving it to whoever has the most money. With the wireless networks we could charter a non profit corporation which would construct the physical network, and then sell access at cost to service providers and consumers. This would assure the great innovation and diversity in services and greatest choice and freedom for consumers. You assume the only ones who want to use the airwaves or have the right to are corporations, when instead they should be used for and by the greater population for the best public interest. We should not have a situation where you have to be a millionaire to have a voice, and the more money you have, the more control you have over the news and information that flows through the airwaves. Wealth should not give a person a greater right to free speech.

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (1, Informative)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155440)

I would like to begin my reply by imploring you to use linguistic features like "paragraphs" to organize your thoughts so that they are easier to read.

The airwaves should not even be owned but licenced

As the article summary notes:

... the FCC will begin auctioning licenses to the coveted 700 MHz band...

As for the rest of your comment, it is as poorly thought out as it is written and organized.

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (3, Insightful)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154756)

Quoth Gandhi_2 "Let big business pay for the privilege of using our spectrum. This is a good way to raise revenue without raising taxes."

Your logic train has derailed. The more you charge business of any kind, regardless of size, for their raw material the more they charge for their finished product. This is how business works.

So while your sentiment of "Charge those big business bastards out the wazooo!" *sounds* good all it means in reality is that the finished good will be more expensive for you to buy!

Presto! The Government has just created a hidden tax ON YOU and you were cheer leading them all the way!

Doh!

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155266)

Except for one thing. Taxes are rarely voluntary, while purchasing finished products is almost always voluntary (the exceptions are Food, Water and Shelter).

No hidden tax. You consume something you don't need, then it isn't really a tax, is it? Nor is it really "hidden" since it is included in the cost of the item you want.

If you want to complain about "hidden" taxes, how about employer paid payroll taxes. Most people never see the cost of these taxes paid on their behalf.

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (4, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154764)

Let big business pay for the privilege of using our spectrum

That's all well and good and you won't find too many people on my side of the fence that disagree with that concept.

What bothers me is that outfits like AT&T and Verizon that already own large swaths of the cellular (850mhz) band are going to be allowed to gobble up large swaths of the 700mhz band. Nobody has asked them to justify why they need this much spectrum. One would think that with the pending shutdown of AMPS that they'd have lots of free spectrum in 850mhz to do whatever they'd like with.

Why the hell are we allowing AT&T and Verizon to further cement their stranglehold on the wireless industry in the United States? If you believe that the airwaves should be used for the public benefit then you should want to see a more competitive market for wireless services emerge. This isn't going to happen as long as we allow two large [att.com] companies [verizon.com] (combined with two smaller [sprintnextel.com] ones [t-mobile.com] ) to completely dominate an industry. We should be taking steps to bring more companies into this market, not further cementing the position of the existing ones.

What would I do differently? At the very least I would require a justification of the existing use of the spectrum that they have and detailed roll-out plans. I'd also exclude AT&T and Verizon from the 700mhz band in any market where they already have cellular (850mhz) licenses. Let the carriers stuck with the poorer-performing PCS (1900mhz) band have the first shot at this valuable space. I'd also mandate stricter rules on what they can do with these bands, including a full adoption of carterfone rules and the elimination of their practice of locking people up into long term contracts with hefty termination fees.

Did you know that in some markets AT&T owns more then 50% of the available wireless (cellular, PCS and AWS) licenses? If you combine them with Verizon in those markets the two manage to own 75-80% of the available spectrum. What's wrong with that picture? AT&T previously justified by it by saying they needed to run three (AMPS/TDMA/GSM) networks. What's the excuse now?

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155438)

I guess there are some strings attached to the 700MHz spectrum, like requiring open access. Is there any requirement to allow arbitrary, power-limited transmitters? That would be equivalent to the current 2.4GHz ISM rules.

Re:Big businesses win, we lose! (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155484)

The simple fact is that no small company can afford to build out this spectrum. Google isn't a small company. I can also remember when Microsoft wasn't evil and IBM was.
I don't think Google is all that super good but I know that I am in the minority on Slashdot.
Yea I would love for Sprint to do better BTW. I feel they are the least evil of the Cell companies.

You bring up a great point (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155356)

We should start charging big business for the 700-400nm band, think of all those billboards and displays out there!

Public land != radio spectrum (2, Interesting)

mstahl (701501) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154650)

The radio spectrum is NOT public. Even the citizen's band has transmitting power limits (4w for AM and 12w for SSB)[reference] [wikipedia.org] , and amateur radio bands are the same way.

Think of it this way. Public forests being sold so that oil can be drilled wrecks those forests, right? The oil isn't there anymore afterwards and all the pollution from the oil drilling and construction processes damages the land so that it is no longer as valuable. Unused spectrum meanwhile is completely empty until someone is permitted to transmit on it. Then it is occupied. After the permission to transmit expires or the spectrum segment is no longer used, it's still there and just as good. It's available to be used again.

Above all, what would you do with it and, in all fairness, how do you know your purpose is more noble or better for the common good than what the big businesses have come up with?

Re:Public land != radio spectrum (2, Insightful)

dattaway (3088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154686)

Above all, what would you do with it and, in all fairness, how do you know your purpose is more noble or better for the common good than what the big businesses have come up with?

Never heard of the shortwave band? DHSS? 802.11? Technology always has an answer. Government regulations always have questions.

Re:Public land != radio spectrum (1)

mstahl (701501) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155010)

Yeah. All of those are regulated by the FCC here and their counterparts in other countries. Technology's answers still have to fit into the spectrum along with all the other answers. You think 802.11 can just work on any frequency, willy-nilly, any time it wants? No. It has to stay in that same band because otherwise there'd just be pandaemonium on the airwaves. The way we have it, tightly regulated like this, you can operate all your devices with a reasonable expectation that you will encounter no interference doing so.

And yes, I have heard of many shortwave bands. My call letters are KF4SOO. Licensed amateur radio operator for over ten years.

Re:Public land != radio spectrum (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155202)

You think 802.11 can just work on any frequency, willy-nilly, any time it wants?

Why not? Tell me, experienced Ham Operator, why can't we do it? Why can't we have a public spectrum? Are you afraid everyone is going to abuse the spectrum by turning up the power with "free" electricity or something? Share your experience, your wisdom please.

Re:Public land != radio spectrum (1)

mstahl (701501) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155430)

Sure it can operate at a wide variety of frequencies but that doesn't mean that it should. If you're transmitting at low enough power (say less than 100mw or so) do whatever the hell you want. If you're transmitting powerfully enough for your device, whatever it is, to interfere with other peoples' around you, then you're doing what we call "causing a ruckus".

The reason why we can't have a public spectrum has already been pointed out a couple of times in this discussion (I think by other people who responded to your first post). Say you wanted a wireless network, so you set up an 802.11 router, but you jack up the power to several watts. Meanwhile I, in a similar fashion, set up a wireless network on my side of town (forget for the moment that there are multiple 802.11 channels and 802.11 is fairly robust at error-correction). I may or may not have my own reasons for wanting my own network and not wanting to be a part of yours. Your network would interfere with mine and if I did not have the ability to overpower yours even locally, I'd lose a kind of transmitting power arms race that I think would become quite common if we had a completely public spectrum.

There's other fun stuff that could happen, too. Like I could just drive around town with a high power spark-gap transmitter and just shower the spectrum with noise. Everybody's radios, TVs, cellphones, cordless phones, and possibly even their stereo equipment would be inundated with those little pop-pop-popping noises those things make. Wouldn't that be great??

Think about it. The FCC's regulations also protect you and me from the big businesses. If there were no regulations and Google decided to build a massive transmitter for some reason, and this interfered with all of our wireless devices. The FCC prevents things like that from happening too.

I also used to be a DJ on a public radio station in college, and I generally regard the FCC as kind of a bitch of an organization, but at least they're there to keep the peace and keep order on the airwaves. It's one of those circumstances where even the most well-meaning anarchy really just could never work unless we all joined hands. I don't think that's gonna happen anytime soon.

So that's my wisdom. Got any of your own? Or just sarcasm?

Re:Public land != radio spectrum (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155566)

So that's my wisdom. Got any of your own? Or just sarcasm?

Good so far. But why do we little people get such a tiny sliver for ISM to play with? Why not a bigger park to play in? Seems kind of crowded to me.

Re:Public land != radio spectrum (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155574)

Why assume that "public" necessarily means anyone should be allowed to transmit at arbitrary power? The 2.4GHz band licensing is already a decent compromise. Furthermore, there might be some technical solutions to using empty spectrum using cognitive radio [wikipedia.org] , especially at short ranges such as within a home.

Re:Public land != radio spectrum (2, Insightful)

mstahl (701501) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155732)

Agreed. Perhaps it was my own misinterpretation of dattaway's post but that seemed to be what he was implying. That somehow because we can't use whatever frequencies we want for whatever we want we've somehow "lost" to big corporations. I don't think this is true because as I brought up and then you did just now, you really can do pretty much whatever you want as long as those RF waves don't stray too far. The main concern with spectrum is that there has to be room for everybody, but that's easier than it may seem at first if everybody's transmitting power is limited too, since the spectrum here in Chicago's probably not nearly as wide-open as it is in the middle of Nevada.

2.4GHz was a good compromise but it's getting really crowded over there. I had complaints from my neighbours in the last apartment that I lived in that my wireless router was interfering with their new cordless phone. Aside from turning down the power of one device or another, weighing the usefulness of my wireless router against the usefulness of their cordless phone, there really wasn't a whole lot that could be done. In a totally "free" system I could've somehow hacked all my devices to work on a different frequency, but I'd inevitably interfere with something else. And eventually there's the prospect that you'd interfere with something really critical like the radio communications of firemen or EMTs. That would be what we call a very bad thing.

700Mhz? (1)

imyy4u1 (1222436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154076)

So will that frequency once it is used interfere with the Slashdot forum server processors that must be running at 700Mhz? :-D Just...kidding...this...forum...is...lightning...fast...

So why NOT Google? (4, Interesting)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154082)

I know the article says that their main goal was to make sure that whoever does get the license keeps the airwaves open to a "wider range of hardware", but I really don't see any reason why Google couldn't get serious and really try to bid for some air space.

Re:So why NOT Google? (4, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154904)

but I really don't see any reason why Google couldn't get serious and really try to bid for some air space.

Because Google isn't interested in being the delivery-person, they are interested in creating the product that he is bringing to your house.

In fact, I would be terrified of Google getting into the content-delivery business. Forgot about "do no evil". Take a look at your friendly local cable provider to see what happens when you allow a media company to control the pipe that comes into your house.

Content delivery needs to be separate from content creation. Otherwise the delivery provider has a vested interest in locking you into his product and removing your freedom of choice. Can you imagine if UPS opened up their own online bookstore and tried to use their position as a shipping provider to price Amazon and Barnes & Noble out of the market?

Re:So why NOT Google? (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155110)

but I really don't see any reason why Google couldn't get serious and really try to bid for some air space

I see this posted a lot, and i still don't get it. What could Google possibly use the 700MHz band for? Even as an investment it makes little sense.

Re:So why NOT Google? (1)

Yez70 (924200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155468)

From what I understood, Google only had an interest in 'wholesaling' the spectrum out to other providers - with open-access rules enforced. As for the nationwide spectrum up for bid, they would need to partner with another company or multiple companies to meet the build-out requirements. I don't see them being the actual provider, just the controlling interest in the spectrum being used.

Great question (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155876)

I thought it would be a good vehicle for low-bandwidth applications such as text searches and ad delivery, both of which are Google's forte. 700MHz is ideal for that, since the bands are small (20MHz) and they reach really far.

Cynical prediction (4, Interesting)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154088)

A major telco, or a coalition of the major telcos, will go deep into dept to bid an extremely high price that no one can match, then win, then use their effective monopoly to continue the USA's crappy position in telecommunication quality, and thereby charge high enough prices to pay back the debt from their bid.

I want to be wrong, but I want credit if I'm right.

I hope Google can get enough money to outbid. Maybe sell "Gbonds" so they can pay absurdly low yields on borrowed money :-P

Re:Cynical prediction (4, Insightful)

acvh (120205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154216)

A major telco, or a coalition of the major telcos, will go deep into dept to bid an extremely high price that no one can match, then win, then use their effective monopoly to continue the USA's crappy position in telecommunication quality, and thereby charge high enough prices to pay back the debt from their bid.

From reading the article, the FCC is opening the bid at $10 billion. The previous record for spectrum licensing is $13.x billion, and SOME analysts expect this to go higher. Still, I don't think the FCC will take Google stock as payment - cash only please.

The uses for this spectrum are many. It remains to be seen if anyone will use it in such a way that it profits them, and benefits us as well.

Re:Cynical prediction (5, Insightful)

wizkid (13692) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154300)

There's actually a bunch of blocks up for bid here. The most expensive is something like $$$4.7B Thats the one that google wants, and the one they bludgened the FCC to put the open device requirement on. I hope google gets it, because they will do it right. The telcos will try to do everything they can to mess up the open device requirement. If google gets it, we will actually be able to use the phones without half the features turned off or mangled. GO GOOGLE

Re:Cynical prediction (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154830)

The problem is that Google isn't in a position to roll out radio towers all across the US. If they were to win the spectrum they would probably be forced to re-license it out to Verizon or somebody to get it to the actual consumer.

Re:Cynical prediction (2, Insightful)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155146)

Even so, the licensure Google gave would presumably require open device adherance, thus fulfilling the parent's desire for satisfaction.

Re:Cynical prediction (1)

wizkid (13692) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155494)


They are flush with cash, but yes, they'd end up working with other companies. It would be under true open device terms though. I don't know that they would be re-licensing, there would be joint development agreements, etc. The licenses are worth to much. they wouldn't be dumb enough to give up the license in any way. Joint Development agreements would be the way to go. Google's got enough money to make it work, and this spectrum is the right one for cell/data wireless. Other companies will jump at the chance to get access to these bands. Joint development agreements with guaranteed long term access are the way for Google to go.

Re:Cynical prediction (3, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154312)

A major telco, or a coalition of the major telcos, will go deep into dept to bid an extremely high price that no one can match, then win, then use their effective monopoly to continue the USA's crappy position in telecommunication quality, and thereby charge high enough prices to pay back the debt from their bid.

One of the things I wanted to see was the creation of another unregulated band range like the 2.4 and 5 GHz ranges(with similar 'play nice' rulesets).

While the spectrum sold in the auction would still be valuable, potential product producers unable to buy a chunk of the spectrum would be able to still make a product(just wouldn't be able to count on sole access).

Re:Cynical prediction (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155386)

I'm not hearing any good reasons, either in posts or in this and other articles, why Google shouldn't snap up these bands. Getting the 'money' will NOT be a problem - despite what people seem to think here, they will not have to write a check out of a checking account to pay for this...

As for being able to afford it, Google is bigger than Verizon and nipping on the heels of AT&T. Even if they bid an absurdly high amount in order to win - say $30 billion - when they do win, they will make that up the next day on stock gains, mark my words. All my money is on Google playing down the likelihood of bidding to win, and then wolloping the other bidders at the eleventh hour. Definitely what I would do. How could it possibly not be worth it to own the airwaves?

Re:Cynical prediction (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155392)

I hope Google can get enough money to outbid. Maybe sell "Gbonds" so they can pay absurdly low yields on borrowed money :-P

As of their last 10-K filing, Google had about $10B in cash on hand. Time Warner has about $1.5B, for a comparison. I think it would take more than a couple of Google's competitors to put together a winning bid. I'd say that's doubtful, considering 1) I'm not sure that would be legal, and 2) their competitors hate each other and can't work together. The only one that would have a chance is AT&T. I don't have time to check their 10-K filing, but my guess is that with all the leveraged buyouts they do, they might have a harder time scraping up the cash as compared to Google.

My feeling is that if Google wants it bad enough, they can probably get it.

American Gladiators (4, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154160)

That's how this bandwidth right should be determined. None of this auction crap. Just let the corporations and the FCC pick their most athletic (least nerdy?) employees, and pit them against each other on the Eliminator(tm). Of course, the FCC 'gladiators' would need catchy pseudonyms like "Mega Hurts" or "The Regulator". The first corporation to actually finish the course without crying your throwing up, wins.

Re:American Gladiators (1)

MajinBlayze (942250) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154412)

So, It should go to the company that can bid the highest for the best/strongest athlete?

Sounds much better!

Re:American Gladiators (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154942)

At least it would keep all of the steroid dealers in business now that MLB is cracking down ;)

Re:American Gladiators (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154476)

Hehe. Mega Hurtz. :)

Re:American Gladiators (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154614)

I think you've been watching too much JPod.

Re:American Gladiators (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154808)

That reminds me of those IBM ads where the office nerds in their makeshift office armor (Japanese Kabuto style helmet made out of a binder w/chair shield if I recall) battle the "hacker" barbarians attempting to "get into" the network.

Whoever Wins, With Jews You Lose (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22154168)

Jews kill Mudslums for fun.

Gaza is like shooting fish in a concentration camp.

When did it go from public to private (2, Insightful)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154182)

or was this always private and I missed that memo? I remember setting up a TV with the ol' rabbit ears and tin foil and it worked for "free" no problems. If now we're being charged for what we as a people owned isn't that the government taking our property? I mean yeah it's not a physical thing and it's the FCC's job to regulate it, but it's there also a law about government not taking what's yours without compensation?

That would be a hoot and a kick to the economy. We'll sell this then give EVERYONE part of the sale price back as compensation for the reclaimed property.

Re:When did it go from public to private (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22154242)

It was licensed to be used by TV station that you were not watching for free. The price was in time spent watching ads that provide money to the station

Re:When did it go from public to private (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22154282)

In 2009 you will be able to set up your ol' rabbit ears (and your 50$ converter box) and it will just work...still. They are just shifting from analog to digital, which frees up part of the frequency band. No on stole anything from you. You didn't own it in the first place, calm down. ... freakin commies xD

Re:When did it go from public to private (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155046)

Where can I get those $50 tax payer subsidized converter boxes?
If I'm paying for part of it, I'd like to own one.

Re:When did it go from public to private (2, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155824)

you can apply for the (2) $40 coupons (usable towards the cost (prediced at about $60, so you need to pay about $20 each box) of 1 DTV converter each) here [dtv2009.gov] .

Re:When did it go from public to private (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154380)

That would be a hoot and a kick to the economy. We'll sell this then give EVERYONE part of the sale price back as compensation for the reclaimed property.

Taxes and regulatory fees always destroy economic activity. Hopefully in the case of taxes, most of that activity is replaced by government services of similar value(or of greater value in some non monetary way), and in the case of regulatory fees, it is a good thing to prevent the activity(because it created amounts of pollution completely out of line with the value of the economic activity, etc). Otherwise, it's like taking water out of the deep end of a pool and dumping it in the shallow end:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18159629 [npr.org]

Re:When did it go from public to private (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22154888)

Taxes and regulatory fees always destroy economic activity.

Platitudes aren't useful. I could just as easily say, that free markets require taxes and regulation. At a minimum, a free market requires security and dispute resolution provided by a third party. That third party always charges a fee. The talking about the extremes is a waste of time. The hard question everyone prefers to ignore is, "What is the right level of regulation?" A hint, the answer is not zero or absolute control.

Re:When did it go from public to private (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155990)

What in my post gives the impression that regulation is bad? It is economic fact that taxes and regulation create dead weight loss. It isn't a bad thing to destroy economic activity, but the original poster was operating under the impression that it is possible to use taxes to invigorate the economy, which it isn't, at least in the short term(spending on education over the long term almost certainly does economic good, and so on, but making college cheaper for one year won't, etc).

Re:When did it go from public to private (1)

Laguerre (1198383) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154406)

The spectrum is ours (public) now. The auction is the process where we sell it to a (private) company.

Re:When did it go from public to private (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22154446)

There's a difference between broadcasting on a band and listening on the band. We, the people, never had the ability to broadcast on the 700MHz band all willy-nilly.

The gov isn't selling off anything that belongs to people. It was licensed to TV broadcast networks, not residents.

Public to private? almost 60 years ago. (3, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154606)


I remember setting up a TV with the ol' rabbit ears and tin foil and it worked for "free" no problems.

It was still private. 60 or so years ago when television first appeared, the spectrum was licensed to various TV stations (though with some restrictions on that license of course). It "belonged" to them in the same sense as the spectrum will "belong" to whoever wins the auctions. The fact that broadcast TV is "free as in beer" to you doesn't mean it was "public" in the sense that you're talking about.

but it's there also a law about government not taking what's yours without compensation?

Hmm.. that's kind of a strange distinction. "The Government" is supposed to be "the people" in a democracy. I'm not sure what you're really driving at here.. who's the "you" in this sentence, and why isn't "the you" represented by "the government"?

Re:Public to private? almost 60 years ago. (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154736)

I may be thinking of Eminent domain (United States) [wikipedia.org]

The most common uses of property taken by eminent domain are public utilities, highways, and railroads. Some states require that the government body offer to purchase the property before resorting to the use of eminent domain.

But, I highly doubt that that would work in this case because it's not physical property and as so many have pointed out, we never owned it to begin with

Re:Public to private? almost 60 years ago. (1)

mikeee (137160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155722)

"The Government" is supposed to be "the people" in a democracy. I'm not sure what you're really driving at here.. who's the "you" in this sentence, and why isn't "the you" represented by "the government"?

"The Government" does not always (usually) operate by consensus, thus the need to protect (especially minorities) against uncompensated takings. More to the point, government often can be accurately modeled as a bunch of lying crooks.

Re:Public to private? almost 60 years ago. (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#22156018)

"The Government" is supposed to be "the people" in a democracy.

That would be ideal, but since all of the government was elected by a minority of the people which doesn't include me, it can't really claim to be 'the people'. If you want real democracy you have to at least have a majority requirement before you allow it to enact any laws. Otherwise the presumption should be that the people don't want any more government, and everything should be left status quo until they do.

It's always been private (3, Informative)

mstahl (701501) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154800)

I think you're confusing transmitting and receiving. You can receive on whatever frequencies you care to. Swap out a few parts to an old ham radio receiver and it will totally pick up 700MHz band and you can listen to your heart's content.

Transmitting is a different story though. Even public radio stations have to pay (albeit less than commercial radio stations) in order to broadcast and they are assigned a unique frequency on which to do so.

Re:When did it go from public to private (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155044)

Free to receive, costs & requires a permit to tranmsit.

The broadcasters, like with radio and free papers, recovered their costs through the selling of advertising.

Besides, under the new digital television standard, there will actually be the potential for MORE channels of TV to broadcast - even a HDTV signal doesn't take the bandwidth an analoge signal needs.

Meanwhile Uncle Sam is pitching in some of the proceeds of the auction to subsidize the cost of new tuners.

verizon & att (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22154186)

fuck those evil ass cunts..

google or t-mobile winning this auctions would be greatest for US consumers of wireless technology and lots of bandwitch and lowering prices to increase competition verizon and att are evil i dont like them they are too expensive and spy on us!

Same thing as rest areas... (3, Interesting)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154250)

The government builds a highway, and then opens a rest area. They sell restaurant/gas/convenience store space to the highest bidder. Then the company that leases the space charges more for a Big Mac or a gallon of gas than in the city. Everybody's a winner - except the consumer.

They should take that spectrum, and award it based on the public good that will come of it. How low a price will you charge for the services you provide for that spectrum... not how much can we, the government, make off of it.

Re:Same thing as rest areas... (4, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154620)

The government builds a highway, and then opens a rest area. They sell restaurant/gas/convenience store space to the highest bidder. Then the company that leases the space charges more for a Big Mac or a gallon of gas than in the city. Everybody's a winner - except the consumer.

Yes and no. The desires of drivers determine the demand curve for restaurants/gas at that area. The fact that the sellers can get higher prices there is just the manifestation of this. Yes, you could try to circumvent this and heroically deliver the lower prices, but it will just mean that the goods are allocated in a more haphazard, corruption-driven manner. The lease will be awarded to the person with the best connections rather than ability to make use of the land; or the stores will be forever packed and "rationed" by long queues, since the prices are artificially low.

What should be done in cases like that is not "fight the demand curve" and make prices lower there, but accept that the equilibrium prices will be higher, auction the leases to the highest bidder, and then use that money (driven higher by the demand curve for goods at that location) to replace other taxes, effectively rebating the value created by the highway, to the general public (who paid for it in the first place).

That is, of course, also what should be done in auctioning airwaves. Chance of politicians genuinely using the money to cut other taxes, rather than seeing it as extra free money: ZERO :-(

(Note my meticulous avoidance of the word "consumer".)

Re:Same thing as rest areas... (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154820)

Ya, except for toll roads where there is either no exit, or you have to pay extra toll to exit and then re-enter the road. Tollway plaza = captive customer.

Re:Same thing as rest areas... (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155864)


In New Jersey many of the highways are toll roads and the rest stops are not allowed to charge more than the gas stations in the local area off the highway. I don't remember the toll structure there but in Mass it doesn't really cost more to get off the highway and back on... though the time it takes makes rest stops worth it even if they do cost more (and I have never confirmed that they do or do not).

Re:Same thing as rest areas... (1)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155462)

It's wonderful to talk about supply and demand curves like it was a free and open marketplace, but rest areas are no such thing. For instance, in the Northeast, the Mass Pike has rest areas every 25 miles, from Boston to Worcester... Those are heavily built areas, and there are plenty of places you could eat along the way, EXCEPT you have to get off the highway, pay the toll, eat/gas up, get back on the highway, take a ticket, etc... It is MUCH easier just to pull of at the rest stop. So sure, some of the higher price is driven by the convenience factor... but some of it is also driven by the fact that Gulf owns ALL the gas stations at Mass Pike rest areas. In Connecticut on the Merritt Parkway, Mobil owns ALL the gas stations. They don't even compete from one rest area to the next! The contract is awarded to the highest bidder, and the highest bidder gets ALL the rest areas. The government is then creating a defacto pseudo-monopoly on rest stop gasoline for a particular corridor. This is anti-competitive, and anti-consumer (oh wait, somehow "consumer" is a dirty word - call it "anti-citizen" instead)... It is supposed to look out for "we the people" but in this case, does what is good for itself, namely raise more money in the auction because of the monopoly factor, it awards one contract instead of many (as would happen if rest stops were auctioned indivicually) because that raises their revenue and makes their contract administration burden lighter (one contractor instead of many). And since you acknowledge that the government will waste that extra money instead of reducing my tax burden (heck - on the Mass Pike, they could reduce my TOLL!!!) it is of no use to allow the practice, and instead, voters should demand a contract award based on greatest value to society instead of greatest value to the monopoly creator - aka - the government.

Re:Same thing as rest areas... (-1, Redundant)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155546)

So, in other words, go with the "perpetually crowded rest stops" option. And, abolish the Return key on keyboards.

Re:Same thing as rest areas... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155106)

Everybody's a winner - except the consumer.

Actually, everyone's a winner, including the consumer - who has the opportunity to buy a burger somewhere where he wouldn't otherwise have been able to. Even if it is at extra expense.

They should take that spectrum, and award it based on the public good that will come of it.

I'll point out that at least some direct good will come of this - part of the spectrum is assigned for a new emergency communication systems, capable of penetrating walls much better than current systems. The rules are such that emergency departments should be able to get better radios for less than current.

I'd argue that the bidding process means that only companies sure they'll be able to make money by providing a service people will pay for will bid. That way the waves will get used by the companies who are looking towards the highest profit - meaning consumers will willingly pay the most for that product, and consider it a good deal.

Re:Same thing as rest areas... (1)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155190)

I understand the rest area prices. If you have a McDonalds at a rest area, chances are they are miles from anywhere. (Otherwise there would not be a need for a rest area). That means that supplies have to be trucked further, employees have to commute further (which is why they get paid more than in the city), and the flow of customers is limited to peak driving times, yet these are usually 24hr/day restaurants. Just because the prices are higher does not always mean they are "sticking it to the consumer". There are a lot better examples than this for price gouging.

Good Luck With That (3, Interesting)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154260)

Don't pin your hopes for lower-cost, widely available internet access on this auction.

In the current political/business climate in the U.S. the chances that nothing good for the consumer will come from this auction are excellent.

It's not just about the auction itself. Imagine for a moment a telco doesn't win the spectrum. The telcos still have the experience and access to the senate and congress to write regulations that increase the cost of doing business with the spectrum. Recent history is filled with examples.

-VOIP regulations, patent litigation parties
-Limited consumer access to bandwidth.
-Limited throughput.
-NSA shenanigans. The get out of jail free cards have already been issued.
 

Anti-News (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154302)

This has got to be anti-news by now. There have been how many articles leading up to this.

Real news will be hearing who wins, or continues the next round.

Auctions are a bad idea (5, Insightful)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154334)

Auctions of bandwidth are a terrible idea, and shows how biased towards big money interests the government has become, rather than what is in the best public interest. Radio spectrum, considering it is a limited resource, should be given out based on what is the best public interests, and what most promotes free speech, free expression and diversity, not to who has the most money. The auctions basically play perfectly into the hands of telecommunications monopolies who have the resources to win them, and thus control telecommunications infrastructure, with an impact on the ability of the public to freely express itself. I would rather see the FCC require a completely open network and much more choice and competition, especially in the case where the construction of the network would be best coordinated or is capital intensive, the developer of the network perhaps should be a chartered non profit corporation which then sells access at cost to anyone who wants to utilise the network. This would provide a interconnected completely compatable nationwide, seamless network which can be accessed anywhere, and would asusre anyone could use it to innovate with new interesting and novel services. One company would not be able to limit and control what can be done with it. This would assure a diversity of choice and allow many different small service providers who do not have massive resources to get involved with providing services, promoting innovation and a rich and diverse assortment of services.

If the government was not so corrupt and beholden to large corporate interests who want to monopolise and control all assetts and resources for its own gain, basically creating a monopoly which serves a few private interests rather than the public interest and promotes diversity and innovation, we would probably have more choice, diversity and competition. Sometimes monopolies are necessary, for instance in electric utilities, since it is so capital intensive, but in this case they should be regulated and chartered by the government to work in the best public interest rather than in the best interest of corporate profits. What is interesting about the wireless plan, although a publicly owned non profit corporation would build the physical network, it would allow a vast range of competition and services to be offered over it, enabling a diverse marketplace.

Re:Auctions are a bad idea (1)

captbob2002 (411323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154582)

I've often thought that leasing the spectrum was a better idea that the auction. Not that the gov't. couldn't yank back what was auctioned if it wanted to.

I still remember the quaint idea of TV stations operating for the public good and needing to have their licenses reviewed from time to time.

Silly me.

Re:Auctions are a bad idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22154840)

We take public interest to be defined as economic activity, and observe that those willing to pay most for the airwaves have the most activity to do and therefore the most public interest. We ARE using public interest to dispense these airwaves. Do not try to snidely sidestep this fact which you surely know. Instead, question the premise that public good can be measured this way.

Never Before (2)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154340)

Has an auction by the FCC been so closely watched by the general public, I believe.

Of course, by 'General Public' I mean 'A lot of geeks', but I can still see this as one of the most important auctions of our lifetimes.

Tomorrow? (0, Offtopic)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154370)

Started days ago [ebay.co.uk] ...

Auction 73 (3, Informative)

lart2150 (724284) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154558)

for those who are looking for the auction it's number 73 on the fcc website.

Re:Auction 73 (2, Informative)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155618)

Here is also a more direct link: Auction 73 [fcc.gov]

My wife's anniversary is coming up (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22154580)

I was going to get her a gold band with a few sub-carat diamonds , but now I'm thinkin' "ya know... what woman doesn't want a 700Mhz band?"
And because I REALLY love her, I'm thinking of upgrading to maybe the 701 or even 702 Mhz band... yeah yeah, it'll be a couple months salary, but what the hell...she's worth it.

Where does the money go? (2, Interesting)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154624)

(I'm Canadian, so this doesn't affect me beyond the influence factor, but I'm curious none-the-less.)

Where does the money go? The FCC will raise the money, but where does that substantial bankroll go? Does it just roll into the federal budget to be dished out as the government sees fit with the rest of the money or is it earmarked for a specific use (debt repayment, for example)?

(And, heck, with the Canadian government about to do a similar auction, if anyone has the answer in regards to Canada, feel free to share it as well.)

Re:Where does the money go? (4, Informative)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154728)

The money will go into the general fund. A.K.A. the same place income taxes go to.

Re:Where does the money go? (3, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154862)

It goes into the General Fund, just like all taxes, duties, fines, etc. Only Congress has the power to appropriate money from the General Fund. Federal agencies and departments don't get to keep any of the money that they receive from external sources. It all goes into the General Fund.

Re:Where does the money go? (1)

MacColossus (932054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155988)

It would be nice if they used it to bail out Social Security since Congress raided it and made it insolvent in the first place. Second option would be national debt. I realize it wouldn't put a dent into it. It would however eliminate some compound interest.

The answer to U.S. recession??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22154872)

All they need is to get the auction up to about $150 billion to cover the cost of injecting money into the economy to alter the seemingly unavoidable fate of recession in America.

Google (1)

EdwardPalonek (1225588) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154896)

Since Google will get into Cell Phones, I don't understand why the Internet on cell phones is so expensive...

Re:Google (1)

steeleye_brad (638310) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155320)

Who does cellular internet access cost so much? Because people will pay that much!

And what the hell does Google getting into the cell phone industry have to do with access fees? Google is getting into the cell phone software business, not the carrier business.

Re:Google (1)

steeleye_brad (638310) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155374)

Oops...WHY does cellular internet access cost so much...WHY not WHO. I preview the reply, double-check everything, and still screw up. I'm blaming it on my ISP!

I'll be the winner (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22154932)

I've got auctionsniper all ready to go....

Re:I'll be the winner (1)

stokessd (89903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155420)

Paypal will send you a Christmas card for that payment...

Pretty Funny when Slashdotters are clueless (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22155218)

I love the way Slashdotters go nuts everytime the press reports some tech story and gets the 'facts' wrong.

Here is a topic where 95% of you have no clue as to what this is all about- from a technical or business or history standpoint.

Thank god you are not reporters!

Re:Pretty Funny when Slashdotters are clueless (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155918)

Thank god you are not reporters!

I think you just described about 90% of today's reporters.

Impact on wireless audio gear in UHF 66-69 range? (2, Interesting)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155678)

I use several wireless microphones that operate in the UHF 66 to 69 range, high 700 Mhz to low 800s. Is that part of the spectrum that's going to be "vacated" next year? Any other audio guys who know more about the impact, what gear I should be buying to replace the old stuff?
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