updated 11:30 am EST, Wed December 19, 2007
Paul Allen 700MHz Bid
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is one of those already confirmed as bidding in the upcoming FCC auction for the 700MHz wireless band, according to the list of accepted applicants (PDF). The former executive is using a proxy firm known as Vulcan Spectrum in an attempt to capture a slice of the soon to be free wireless spectrum, which has been eagerly sought after by telecom providers for its potential with long-range Internet and similar data. Neither Allen nor Vulcan has revealed the reasons behind the bid, though Allen is also a significant stakeholder in cable provider Charter.
Vulcan Spectrum is joined by 95 other companies that have successfully applied to make a bid in the late January auction, which includes Google. The search engine giant is considered one of the key motivators behind interest in the auction and is largely responsible for pressuring the FCC into insisting on open access rules that allow any device and software to run on a potential 700MHz data network.
Several incumbents, however, have hit upon potential obstacles, the FCC warns. A full 266 companies, including AT&T, MetroPCS, and Verizon, have had their initial bids marked as incomplete (PDF) due to incomplete or missing information. The errors require that the companies resubmit their applications ahead of the auction or else be removed from consideration.
The list also confirms a host of additional entrants into the spectrum bid, including oil producer Chevron and wireless chipset maker Qualcomm. Cox Communications, best known for its cable service, will also enter the auction under a new Cox Wireless label, the FCC notes.
Little extra information about the bidder list is expected to become available before the end of the auction, which is believed to occur by March. Any future wireless service will start no earlier than February 2009, when the 700MHz space is relinquished by analog TV broadcasts.