Due Tomorrow: Major FCC Rulemaking on Wireless Spectrum
A major rulemaking expected by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission tomorrow morning will define the parameters for a $15 billion auction of wireless spectrum.
The stakes are huge. As of now, the U.S.-based wireless service providers have a buge role in deciding preferred cellphone access for websites, search engines, and music-download services. They do this by working with preferred providers to establish these services.
And these services are often on a device-exclusive basis. Witness Apple's iPhone and its five-year window of exclusivity with AT&T.
Google thinks this is unfair. They have already urged the FCC to require the auction winner to build an network open to all handsets and services. Not only that, but Google,has offered to spend at least $4.6 billion for the airwaves it would use to build the network it would like to if the FCC's rules work in its favor.
AT&T and Verizon Wireless say, in effect, that because they have been building up these networks for more than ten years, then by golly, they have a right to do exclusive deals.
Remember, though, tomorrow is just a rulemaking. The actual auction goes down in January, 2008.
That's not as far away as it sounds.
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