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The 700mhz Spectrum Auction In Perspective

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the kind-of-a-big-deal(tm) dept.

Cellphones 88

YIAAL writes "Writing in Popular Mechanics, Robert X. Cringely looks at the upcoming auction of the 700mbz spectrum, which is currently used for soon-to-be-defunct analog TV. 'Why are all these companies so excited? Because the 60 MHz of spectrum that's about to be auctioned is the last prime real estate for mobile communications that will be available in the U.S. for decades to come ... Some pundits (that would be me) think Google will bid to win its spectrum block, then will trade that block to Sprint/Nextel for some of that company's 2.5-GHz WiMAX licenses that are far better suited for data.' Plus, the prospect of offering unlicensed data service in the 'white space' between existing broadcast channels."

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Check your summary please! (2, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169112)

What are we talking about here? Millihertz? Millibitz (or whatever the 'z' in mbz means)?

Re:Check your summary please! (0, Offtopic)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169180)

Looks like a ytpo to me. ;-p

Re:Check your summary please! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170328)

Looks like many typos to me. Well done, Slashdot!

  • 700mhz (missing space, all lower-case)
  • 700mbz (missing space, all lower-case, wrong letter)
  • 60 MHz (correct?)
  • 2.5-GHz (dash instead of space)

Re:Check your summary please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22173758)

two point five minus gigaherz equals monkey, right?

Re:Check your summary please! (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174580)

You can see the public access auction results as the auction is conducted by visiting the FCC's Auctions Portal [fcc.gov] and choosing Auction 73 from the drop-down box under "Public Access". There are many auctions going on for different aspects of the 700MHz band, but Auction 73 is the big one that people are all talking about.

Re:Check your summary please! (0, Offtopic)

s.bots (1099921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169218)

mbz -> much badeditingby zonk

Re:Check your summary please! (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169960)

What are we talking about here? Millihertz? Millibitz (or whatever the 'z' in mbz means)?
Missed By Zonk.
 

Re:Check your summary please! (1)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170472)

They're clearly tlaking about the FCC auction of the 700 megaberts range. One megaberts being equal to one million of Bert from Sesame Street.

That's alot of pigeons. :x

Re:Check your summary please! (1)

Kyojin (672334) | more than 6 years ago | (#22179842)

Is that 700*1048576 Berts, 700*1024000 Berts, or 700*1000000 Berts?

Re:Check your summary please! (2, Funny)

bobl (35751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173388)

Dot vould be megabits-per-zecond, don't you know?

    - L. von Drake

Re:Check your summary please! (1)

ChrisA90278 (905188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22175282)

I think "700 Mbz" means some one is going to auction off seven hundred German made automobiles. Seems unlikely that Google would want so many of them so trading them off seems reasonable.

Are Negatively Moderated Comments (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22169146)


a thingy of the past?

Fuck Bush

As Good as Dead (1)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169216)

I've been deeply skeptical all along and now the _how_ google wins it is in place with this quote "trade that block to Sprint/Nextel"

The _why_ this spectrum will be neither cheap nor open is in the quote "trade that block to Sprint/Nextel"

Sigh...

Good Times (2, Interesting)

usul294 (1163169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169234)

I'm anxious to see what develops from this. The 700 Mhz band should have a fairly large range (greater than normal wi-fi), but less than a radio station for example, given the same power. I'm interested in what each of the bidders wants to use the band for, most likely for providing wireless internet. At first connection speed might be a problem though, but still acceptable for casual browsing and e-mail. maybe not fast enough for real-time youtube.

Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (4, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169312)

And what would happen if one of the bid winners licensed existing TV stations to broadcast over some specific frequency just as they already are? Sure, it's not innovative or revolutionary, but the broadcast TV model has already proven profitable, and there are a LOT of people in the US with out HD TV's/Converters. Seems like there could be a rather solid market out there to continue the status quo, at least for a while until the HD penetration numbers rise.

-Rick

Re:Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (1)

Average (648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169838)

TV broadcasting isn't all that profitable and is severely inefficient. The OTA converter boxes for the small minority who need one (and I am one... rooftop antenna and curbside free 25" TV is good enough for me) will be readily available soon enough. There are hundreds of thousands of them in shipping containers on boats from China at this moment.

Re:Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (4, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170120)

In general I agree, I've played around a bit with my wee small antenna and an atsc tuner, and the results are far better than I was getting with an ntsc tuner. The picture is crisp, clear and consistent in a way that the analog signal never was in this room.

But anybody that lives out in the boonies, the places where getting quite a bit of static are going to be screwed over if they haven't gone satellite.

Overall though, I think that the people that are screaming to maintain the status quo and the horribly inefficient allocation of the airwaves for an increasingly small minority need to think about the common good, and consider whether they have a right to forgo paying for a subsidized box if it means depriving everybody of the use of the spectrum.

It would in many ways make more sense to subsidize a basic satellite package for people that live far enough away from the nearest broadcaster than to maintain the system as it is.

Even if the spectrum is bought out by a company that misbehaves in the end, we still have an additional choice to make, whereas previously we had one fewer option. And that's a good thing either way, it gives a chance for a new service to sink or swim.

Re:Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22171900)

You tested and got better results with the digital receiver. I've also tested, out in the fringe areas, and we also got better results with the digital receiver. Some stations that we would consider barely watchable (via analog) came in clear and sharp with the digital receiver. I'd guess that people in the fringe reception areas will get a larger benefit from the digital switch than people who live in more urban areas.

Re:Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (4, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22171990)

But anybody that lives out in the boonies, the places where getting quite a bit of static are going to be screwed over if they haven't gone satellite.

Actually, you've got that exactly backwards. Those on the fringes who get ANY picture on analog TV stations, should expect to get a perfect ATSC signal. It has been proven in practice a great many times (a web search should turn up plenty of accounts). And more to the point, broadcast radius is, in fact, ATSC's biggest strength over DVB.

Re:Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (1)

satellitenetconnect (1185959) | more than 6 years ago | (#22178290)

That is correct except for those of us who live in an area that is prone to hurricanes. The digital tv broadcast is lost long before the analog broadcast i.e. during Katrina, Mobile's NBC 15 broadcasts digital on 47. It was lost 1 hour into the storm, yet 15 never went out. Kudos to the government for the wonderful changes!

Re:Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (1)

Cardcaptor_RLH85 (891550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22178470)

Does that channel broadcast its analog and digital signals from the same tower? If not, then maybe the digital tower just fell down and the analog one didn't. Or if they are on the same tower then maybe the lines carrying the digital signal to the tower were damaged and the analog ones weren't. There are many possibilities other than just degradation of the signal that could have come into play during a storm as powerful as Hurricane Katrina.

Re:Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (1)

satellitenetconnect (1185959) | more than 6 years ago | (#22178514)

Not sure, it just went out. I felt better that once I saw we could still watch analog tv. The fact was it was only 3 1/2 hours into the storm we lost power and the little 5" weather tv only picks up analog tv. Guess, I will have to buy one of those converters to make that work when the power fails off of the old power inverter.

Re:Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (5, Insightful)

greensoap (566467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169902)

Based on the auction rules, there is nothing limiting the potential licensees to which technologies they use the licenses for. (Except maybe the blocks designated for public safety.) The cost of each license is probably enough to prevent it. The cost and the geographic limitations that is; most licenses are fairly small (designed for potential Commercial Mobile Radio Services [CMRS]) the exception being Block C in the Upper 700 MHz with is broken into 12 geographic area groupings.

Traditional analog broadcasts had higher power ratings and larger coverage areas than allowed by the new licenses. The reasons being that the broadcasts were all one direction and the broadcasters were attempting to get the signal to as many people as possible. The new licenses are designed with CMRS in mind. CMRS doesn't use the coverage TV broadcast did, the more coverage the more transmitters requiring a piece of the network. Whereas, TV there was just one transmitter. Because CMRS is all about two way communication, it makes more sense to keep the each transmitting network small and have many of them. That way you can let, say, 20 people transmit within a range of frequencies on 10th avenue and one block over allow a different set of 20 people to transmit within the same range (the network serving 40 people across the two city blocks). Increase the power rating, hence the range, now the same geographic area only serves 20 people because there isn't enough spectrum space to serve more within the frequency range. (Okay, very crude example with very little actual engineering. Somebody familiar with current GSM standards could provide a much more accurate example. But, this should convey the concept.)

Because the licenses were designed with CMRS in mind, the power ratings are lower and the size of each "cell" is smaller. In order to have effective TV broadcast you would have to buy many of the license to ensure you didn't cause interference over another licensee's geographic coverage.

Furthermore, it doesn't make sense for a broadcasting company to spend large dollars on new licenses when those broadcasters are all transitioning to digital TV. It makes more sense to just go with the transition and tell consumers that it isn't their fault because the government made them do.

Basically, there is really nothing in the auction rules themselves, but economically speaking it would not be a wise business decision.

Mod parent up! (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169998)

Thanks for the answer! That makes a lot of sense, even if it does mean no Google TV ;)

-Rick

Re:Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170772)

and there are a LOT of people in the US with out HD TV's/Converters.
Actually it's worse than that. I cant even buy the damned things.

ZERO stores locally (within a 100 mile radius local) have them or are expecting to even stock any of them. I wanted to get my family on the ball with info on where to go and where to get their "coupon" for the discount.

The coupon is useless as not only are there no supporting sellers within a 2 hour drive, you cant even buy the crap if you wanted to.

Getting my grandma to give up her 250 year old Zenith set will be impossible, but it seems to be easier than buying a "converter box" for her.

Re:Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22171110)

Not trying to be rude here but...
Um...you just came up with a solution to a problem that isn't even there.
I'm not sure you know what the transition from Analog broadcast to Digital broadcast is all about. And you are not alone.

Nobody is required to switch over to HD. At no point has the analog to digital transition had ANYTHING to do with whether or not anyone owns an HD capable television.

It is merely to stop broadcasting broadband, innefficiant ANALOG signals in favor of narrower, more efficient DIGITAL signals SPECIFICALLY OVER THE AIR. This is still free, over-the-air, "broadcast" TV.

Digital TV does not mean HD...in fact, all standard channels will be broadcast in Digital Standard Definition with SOME choosing to simultaneously broadcast SD and HD at the same time.

Like I said, you are not alone. I have heard MANY people fighting this because they don't want to go out and buy a new TV when, in fact, TV's sold over the past 10+ years are digital capable anyways.

ANY TV with RCA plugs, or SVideo, or Component, or HDMI, or Coaxial are digital capable. If you can hook up a satellite receiver or cable box or a gaming console, you are digital capable. Now raise your hand if you don't fall into that category...then explain to me how you can't justify upgrading your 1960's era TV yet you have a computer with internet access. And if you are THAT stubborned, FINE (each to his own)...the converters are cheap...remember the RF converter you hooked your old school Nintendo to your TV's cable input with?

It's time!
You're ready!
Now let's start reaping the rewards of a more efficient system where there is MUCH more bandwidth open for more content and it takes FAR LESS power to do it in.
Level the playing field so the consumer benefits from the wider variety of content available from more sources instead of letting cable and satellite companies tell us what our options are and charging us whatever they want for them.
You will no longer have to pay satellite and cable companies extra fees for access to local channels.

Enjoy.

Re:Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (2, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22172282)

the broadcast TV model has already proven profitable,

And is becoming less profitable by the day...

and there are a LOT of people in the US with out HD TV's/Converters.

This is just stupid. People don't have converter boxes now, but by 2009 damn near all of them are sure to, on the government's dime. Not to mention that digital will give you the opportunity for 4+ channels in the same amount of spectrum, and that the crappy quality of analog broadcasts is what drove many of the people in the country to PAY for cable/sat.

I think, however, you could be on the right track... It's an interesting situation we find ourselves in. The 700MHz spectrum is going to be for sale for private use, yet it was a fairly recent decision to auction it off, so every digital TV tuner made will still tune to those frequencies. With enough money, you could build a private (digital) TV network that is tunable with standard equipment all consumers already have, yet not being subjected to the FCC's regulations of broadcast TV...

I've also thought about satellites... 700MHz is a high enough frequency to penetrate the atmosphere, can be tuned to by cheap and widely installed DTV tuners, and common UHF antennas happen to be rather high gain, especially at 700MHz... Would it really be possible to have a satellite broadcasting an HDTV signal from space, that could be picked up by anyone in the hemisphere, just by pointing their cheap UHF antennas towards the sky rather than the horizon, and hooking it up to their HDTV tuners? The broadcast power needed from the satellite's solar panels might make it impractical, but it's still a very enticing thought. The receiving equipment would be much less expensive than a dish & LNBF, basically free because it is already commonly available. And from the viewer's perspective, what about the prospect of a strong (and free) TV signal, anywhere you are?

Re:Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (1)

cybereal (621599) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173292)

Seems like there could be a rather solid market out there to continue the status quo, at least for a while until the HD penetration numbers rise.

"solid market" ... "HD Penetration" ... ok... are you trying to subconsciously advertise a porn distribution service here!? Because I'd like to know where I should sign...

Re:Just a thought... UHF 60-69 for... TV? (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22178896)

That idea is so devious I'm ashamed that it never occurred to me. Now if only the new channel 69 could be "Channel 69" all those old television sets would suddenly be in great demand. :-)

Re:Good Times (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169450)

They say that it can do 10mbits at 70km so I think it would be fast enough for YouTube.
What it will not be fast enough for is streaming HD-Video to your home.
The other problem with this spectrum is that the antenna has to be a lot larger than for a 2.4ghz. You can trade off efficiency for a smaller antenna but that also isn't great for a mobile device.

One thing I would love to see is a terrestrial positioning system using that spectrum. It should work in places where you can not get a GPS signal like in buildings and with three visible stations it should have no problem with locating you. With only three stations there will be two possible locations for you but since one will be under ground most of the time it should be good enough.

Re:Good Times (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170112)

IIRC Youtube streams at around 70 KBytes/sec, or 560kbit/s. Imagine maxing out at 20 users in a 70km cell :O

Nice (1)

MacarooMac (1222684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169336)

Some pundits (that would be me) think Google will bid to win its spectrum block, then will trade that block to Sprint/Nextel for some of that company's 2.5-GHz WiMAX licenses that are far better suited for data.
Score some 700-MHz off eBay then do the old baseball card trade for some 2.5-GHz!

Transcript of the trade (3, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169422)

Google: Hey Sprint/Nextel, trade you my 700 Mhz for your 2.5Ghz!
(awkward pause)
Sprint/Nextel: nah.
(awkward pause)
Google: ... damn!

Re:Transcript of the trade (4, Interesting)

mounthood (993037) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169618)

Google: Hey Sprint/Nextel, trade you my 700 Mhz for your 2.5Ghz!
(awkward pause)
Sprint/Nextel: nah.
(awkward pause)
Google: ... damn!
Google: OK we'll just buy you.

http://finance.google.com/finance?q=Google+Sprint [google.com]

Re:Transcript of the trade (1, Interesting)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170728)

Wow, didn't know that feature existed. Here's [google.com] something even more depressing.

Re:Transcript of the trade (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174894)

Also see List of Corporations by Market Cap [wikipedia.org] at wikipedia. It shows companies that have a much greater market cap than Google has, mostly that of oil and banking corporations. Verizon has a 110b market cap, as far as large-name teleco goes.

Re:Transcript of the trade (1)

hyperz69 (1226464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22172794)

I Google had enough cash on hand to do so, market capital is not how much money a company has to just go out buying anything it wants. Sprint has 51 billion in assets and Google 21 billion. Sprint has a market cap just north of 25 billion. So Figure in 20% For an aggressive buyout and you hit 30 billion. Google would have to go into MASSIVE DEBT to buy Sprint. So... no ;P But hey I got some stock in a hot new Pharmaceutical Company that is in stage 2 testing for a cancer cure. I can hook you up with shares for 5$ each. It will be worth 10 times that this time next year!

so whatabout my grandma? (0, Offtopic)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169438)

Personally, I'm a little angry that their killing off regular broadcast TV to begin with. Granted, digital is really great if you have a tuner for it...but a LOT of people DON'T!.

If they're selling this spectrum off for 6 billion of 20 billion or whatever it is, I propose that they use the money to purchase enough digital tuners to give out for free to anybody who asks for the following 2 years after they make the switch.

Helloooooo, McFlyyyyyyy! The coupons! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22169494)

They already have the coupon system ($40 off a tuner, and surely someone will make a simple one for less than that).

You're a few years too late in your complaint.

Re:Helloooooo, McFlyyyyyyy! The coupons! (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170082)

Yeh it's all very well having cheap tuners, but they are useless if the are you live in doesn't have dull coverage until after the switchover (certain areas of the UK).

Re:Helloooooo, McFlyyyyyyy! The coupons! (1)

FesterDaFelcher (651853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22171228)

certain areas of the UK
Your post was so full of other typos, I can only assume that is one as well?

Re:Helloooooo, McFlyyyyyyy! The coupons! (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22179598)

Oops, I typed that at the end of a long day. UK is about the only non-typo in there. ;-)

coupons here (3, Interesting)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169596)

You can get 2 $40 coupons at this site [dtv2009.gov]

Re:coupons here (2, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#22171152)

You can sign up for the coupons, but the converter aren't available yet... Also I'd like to know if Tivo will support one or more of the converters. I have an analog Tivo with lifetime subscription. I'll be mighty pissed if they don't support a digital converter using an IR blaster like they do with Satellite converters.

Re:coupons here (1)

kcornia (152859) | more than 6 years ago | (#22171388)

What an awesome potential revenue stream this could be for Tivo.

Customer: I need a Tivo that supports this converter I have for my TV.
Tivo: I'm sorry, we don't have anything like that.
Customer: But I have a lifetime subscription.
Tivo: Well it sounds like the lifetime for that service is now passed. Why don't you take a look at our new monthly rates.
Customer: ...

Re:coupons here (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181486)

I wish companies would relize that supporting old products is good for the botton line. What would happen to Ford, if you couldn't buy a critical part for your 10 year old car. Some car companies have sold their tools and dies to smaller companies that manufacture parts for 50 year old cars, because it's good advertizing to have 50yo antique cars around.

To continue your conversation:

Customer: Ok, no thanks. I'll check out your competition and get back to you. Maybe mythtv is good enough now...

Also, even after analog over the air broadcasts are stopped, you can still eBay your analog machine to someone who gets cable.

Nope (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22171498)

You will need to get a new TiVO if you want to use it to change the channel or record a channel not currently being watched.
The converter box will be the new 'channel changer'

If TiVO is really customer service oriented, they will let you pass the subscription to a new TiVO box.

Re:coupons here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22172920)

So... from what I can see, it sound like you're using a Tivo to record analog broadcast TV. Is that right? What the hell is wrong with you that you're willing to spend all the money that a Tivo costs but you're not willing to get cable or satellite TV?

Re:so whatabout my grandma? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22169616)

Waaaaah! Cry me a river. People shouldn't be watching TV anyways. It rots your brain.

Re:so whatabout my grandma? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170266)

tv rots your brain like crack cocaine

Re:so whatabout my grandma? (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#22176836)

People shouldn't be watching TV anyways. It rots your brain.

I'm more concerned about bot flies [cracked.com] eating my brain [cracked.com] .

Re:so whatabout my grandma? (4, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169644)

Yeah, it really sucked when they switched records from 78rpm to 33rpm - my grandfather had to go out and buy a whole new turntable and stylus, bastards.

My grandpa was smarter than your grandpa... (1)

tomzyk (158497) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169982)

Yeah, it really sucked when they switched records from 78rpm to 33rpm - my grandfather had to go out and buy a whole new turntable and stylus, bastards.
My grandfather saved his money from buying the latest tech and just learned to listen faster.

Re:so whatabout my grandma? (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22171452)

Except they didn't intentionally break the 78 setting on your grandpas record player.

Re:so whatabout my grandma? (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169660)

Why? Your proposal costs money to all manner of large corporations, whereas the present system means that people will be buying new TVs--hence giving the economy a boost, just like the gov't wants.

O'course, someone with a bit of wherewithal and some contacts could perhaps convince the various networks and production companies and whatnot to sponsor the distribution of said converter boxes--prominently labeled with the logo of the network or production company. Kinda like the Y2K business in duration, but a great advertising opportunity, and it'd be possible to leverage that into some sort of related business.

Re:so whatabout my grandma? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22169786)

"Stimulating" the economy by coercing demand for a product is a silly concept, and leads to a long-run misallocation of capital. Paying someone to run around smashing windows on cars also helps the glass repair service economy, but in the broader view, is a waste.

Re:so whatabout my grandma? (2, Interesting)

planetralph (944937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169680)

This is already implemented. Not quite as extravagant as you propose, but there are coupons for up to 2 TV's per household that will cover close to the full cost of a digital tuner. People without cable or satellite have priority for some of the coupons. The only problem is the people who need the program are the ones who won't be tuned in enough to know that things are changing until all the coupons are gone. Maybe advertising on TV will help.

https://www.dtv2009.gov/ [dtv2009.gov]

Re:so whatabout my grandma? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22169884)

How many people do you know that are actually using the VHF/UHF OTA tuners? I would imagine that the vast majority of people are using the CATV tuners in their televisions (which this doesn't impact)

Yes, they are going to discontinue the over-the-air analog signals. This does not, however, affect cable television.

Re:so whatabout my grandma? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22169886)

My grandma has no worries with her 60" DLP.

Re:so whatabout my grandma? (1)

seanonymous (964897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170104)

If you don't have cable or satellite service and you're not willing to spring for a new tuner, than TV isn't that important to you and you won't miss it.

$4.7 Billion in perspective... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22169464)

Total cost so far of Iraqi war: $488 Billion
Total cost so far of Afghanistan war: $156 Billion

So this auction essentially pays for a month of war.
(and you thought those ebay fees were high)

this guy sucks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22169632)

Why do we even bother to listen to this douche cringley? He's no better than Dvorak.

Make sure google wins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170090)

FPN: 0010119691
PW: google

I'm still wondering... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170340)

How exactly someone can "own" a spectrum. How does anyone have the explicit right to transmit on it? This is a serious question, although I'm believing it's because of the "Gold"en rule.

Does this mean that I can stake my claim on the 232Ghz spectrum now and make bank on it in 20 years?

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170754)

Ed Snider owns the Spectrum [about.com] . But he's going to tear it down.

The 700MHz Band is great for data (3, Insightful)

VeriTea (795384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170380)

The article is just plain wrong when it states that the 2.5GHz band is superior for data, it is not. Throughput is primarily dependent on bandwidth, so 20MHz at in the 700MHz spectrum will effectively carry the same amount of data as 20MHz in the 2500MHz spectrum. The big difference is that Google can provide coverage in rural/suburban areas that have relatively low demand for throughput with far fewer sites. In urban areas Google can pack the sites just as closely together and will still be better off then they would with the 2.5GHz spectrum because they won't have to install in-building repeaters to ensure good coverage inside many of the buildings that would otherwise require such a system.

Re:The 700MHz Band is great for data (1)

GroceryShopper (1017136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170874)

I think you're wrong. It also depends on the wavelengths too, which in turn depend on a radio wave frequency. Anyway, shorter the wavelengths more data you can pack in one bandwidth. Since, in GHz frequency range, wavelengths are shorter this means more data you can pack in the same bandwidth.

Re:The 700MHz Band is great for data (2, Informative)

shadow_slicer (607649) | more than 6 years ago | (#22171764)

Wrong. OP is correct. All things being equal you can fit the same amount of data in 700-720MHz as in 2.5-2.52GHz. As another poster mentioned [slashdot.org] the difference is not capacity, but instead reusability.

Re:The 700MHz Band is great for data (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22179070)

Anyway, shorter the wavelengths more data you can pack in one bandwidth.

Bandwidth isn't a unit of measurement, it's something which is measured (in Hertz, i.e., cycles per second). As your other replier mentioned, 20 MegaHertz is 20 MegaHertz, whether it starts at 700 MHz or at 2.5 GHz.

Wavelength, or its inverse, frequency, affects stuff like how far a usable signal travels, whether it gets blocked by pine trees or brick walls, whether it follows the curvature of the earth or bounces off one of the upper layers of the atmosphere, is subject to interference from natural (not man-made) causes, etc.

Re:The 700MHz Band is great for data (4, Interesting)

morton2002 (200597) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170876)

The better propagation characteristics do have a drawback: limited frequency reuse. The cells will have to be spaced further apart to avoid overlap, resulting in more users communicating with the same tower. Furthermore 700 MHz doesn't have the scattering properties of higher frequencies that allows for multipath signal combining, which is tremendously useful in non-line-of-sight situations. This means that coverage in dense urban environments will have to rely exclusively on the partial propagation through buildings, which may leave shadows on a coverage map. These quiet zones could be targeted with additional tower placement, if not for the frequency reuse problem.

Re:The 700MHz Band is great for data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22174370)

> The cells will have to be spaced further apart to avoid overlap,

Orthogonal coding and tight power control can over come this.

90 MHz of bandwidth at 2.5 GHz (1)

morton2002 (200597) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173306)

Also keep in mind that Sprint has up to 90 MHz of bandwidth [lightreading.com] at 2.5 GHz. Arguments about 2.5GHz being better-suited to data often implicitly rely on that point.

Re:The 700MHz Band is great for data (5, Informative)

slonik (108174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173362)

The article is just plain wrong when it states that the 2.5GHz band is superior for data, it is not. Throughput is primarily dependent on bandwidth, so 20MHz at in the 700MHz spectrum will effectively carry the same amount of data as 20MHz in the 2500MHz spectrum.

As someone who professionally designs cellular networks I can tell you that for data services 20MHz at 2.5GHz is much better than the same 20MHz at 700MHz. The data rate is determined not only by the channel bandwidth but also by the amount of interference that is generated by neighboring base stations. This interference depends on the RF propagation characteristics. At 2.5GHz the RF signals die off much faster with the distance than at 700MHz. As a result your interference levels will be lower at 2.5GHz. The downside is, of course, that cell coverage area of each individual base station will get smaller and you have to deploy them at substantially higher density. Rule of thumb: for voice you are coverage limited and you want your 700MHz (or 850MHz, ATT, Verizon) and big cells. For data you want small cells and high frequency band (2 or 2.5GHz).

Just my two cents from the tranches.

Re:The 700MHz Band is great for data (0)

Jott42 (702470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173746)

You make a lot of assumptions in this argument. Voice today is essentially data - it is digitized information being transferred. Data service quality does not need to be bandwidth limited - SMS is an example of data transfer of fixed bandwidth that could benefit from larger cells. The interference you are talking about is the reason why lower frequencies gives larger cells - with larger cells you have exact the same situation with 700 MHz and 2.45 GHz. Perhaps you are alluding to the measure : bits/second/Hz/square km? If we are trying to optimise the amount of data being transferred per area, we should go to higher carrier frequencies - thus the push for the 60 GHz band.

Re:The 700MHz Band is great for data (1)

slonik (108174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22175824)

Perhaps you are alluding to the measure : bits/second/Hz/square km?

Well, the practical metric is bits/second/Hz/user.
Ideally, each cell will serve small number of users at a high data rate. To achieve this goal, the cell coverage area should be smaller than in a typical "voice service" cell that can serve dozens of users at the same time.

Re:The 700MHz Band is great for data (1)

Jott42 (702470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22185408)

You are still assuming that "data" implies a need to maximise the bandwidth available to the user- a lot of applications does not have this need, and would for example benefit from an extended range instead.

700 MHz Spectrum - serious overclocking (1)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170558)

lame joke I know.

I'd buy that (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22171404)

for a dollar!

I dont think Sprint will be a player atm. (1)

Cythrawl (941686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22171540)

I doubt very much that they will sell it to Sprint/Nextel. They have just laid off 4,000 employees and are Closing 125 of thier stores nationwide. Sprint just isnt making any money at the moment, and thier churn far exceeds that of the other top 5 Wireless telcos.

Sprint will be focusing on revitalising its marketing and trying to win customers back, rather than bank money in a high risk venture that wont even pay off for them for years to come.

Just my 2 cents.

Google Phone (1)

Teflon_Jeff (1221290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22171550)

I know Google had some patents in the last year that pointed towards possible entrance into the cell phone Market. But trading it for some 2.5 would be quite the coup for them.

You insens1tive clod! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22172844)

dicks produced members alL over I'm di5cussing

More spectrum by 2015 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22172880)

If broadcast TV viewer erosion continues at the current rate, and it will likely accelerate, there will be a lot more frequency spectrum available to be sold off by 2015.

Here are some reasons why:

Digital switch. The change to digital broadcasts will not postpone the inevitable, but will actually hasten the demise of broadcast TV. Of the approximately 20 million households who still receive analog broadcast TV, only about 5 million of them will bother with the ATSC converter set-top boxes, coupons or no. The other 15 million will switch to basic cable or satellite.

Interference. The radio frequency interference caused by the proposed "broadband over white spaces" and "broadband over power lines" will cause so many parasitic harmonics that digital TV reception will degrade to the point where it is useless. As viewers get more and more frustrated with trying to receive the broadcast ATSC signal in the ever-noisier environment, they'll look to other alternatives for their entertainment.

Reality TV. Only idiots watch it. Idiots have no purchasing power because they're too stupid to have middle-class jobs, ergo the so-called "ratings" are meaningless to the advertisers. As the dollar is devalued even more, the middle-class will become the lower-class and will have even less purchasing power than the lower-class workers before them.

Advertisers. There are at least 8 times more channels on basic cable and satellite than on broadcast. The advertisers have already moved the bulk of their operations and money to these methods of delivery and are giving up on broadcast TV because of the ever-shrinking number of broadcast TV viewers who have purchasing power.

No matter what Zoran, the NTIA and the FCC are speculating about and hoping for, broadcast TV will be dead by 2020 and only a memory by the time the 100th anniversary of the Farnsworth invention arrives.

RIP Broadcast TV.

Lets trade! (1)

hyperz69 (1226464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22172888)

Google: I will trade you some of my 700 MHz for your 2.5 GHz Sprint: NO WAI! 2.5 GHz is ultra rare! Google: K! I throw in my lvl 75 Pikachu Sprint: DONE! Score. LOL You suck at this? Google: WAT U MEAN? Sprint: I would have traded for your LV 50 Bulbasaurus and Pikachu! Sprint: Who carez about MEGAHURTZ! LOL! U NEWB! Google: :(

Maybe... but not probably. (1)

glenist (88139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22177626)

I bet this is wrong, but I just thought about the YouTube purchase last year.

YouTube + Old TV's + UHF Channels = user generated broadcasts to the masses with AdSense video units playing in between.

so what is the big deal? (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22177732)

I would actually like to hear some informed ideas about what this will actually likely be used for.  I'm sure it's really cool...I'm just not sure exactly how.

Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22177900)

Has anyone considered that this spectrum will likely be garbage for data transmission (if not all sorts of transmission) for those within about 100 miles of the Canadian border until about mid-2011 when Canada switches from Analog to Digital service? Or are they going to work around Canadian stations (which are permitted to broadcast "hotter" than those in the US)?

And then there's about 100 miles of the southern states that will be enjoying interference from Mexico.

Just wondering, because that will be an interesting fight...

trespass lawsuit (1)

thosf (981274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22183542)

I plan to sue any/all private companies who infringe on my property with their RF spectrum without paying me for that privilege.

How dare they assume that they can abuse me and FREELY use my private property to transmit their signals with impunity.

The more I read about the health problems created by RF signals, the deeper my concern becomes. Nowhere have I seen ANYTHING that addresses these private companies power output plans. For all I know, it can be unrestricted. I am thinking that a million watts of RF power coursing through the bodies of your children 24 hours a day is not a good thing. Especially if it originates from private companies who are only interested in pursuing profit - to heii with the health of people.

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