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Politicians: Google manipulated 700MHz auction

updated 04:45 pm EDT, Tue April 15, 2008

700MHz auction 'gamed?'

Google deliberately manipulated the outcome of the FCC's recent 700MHz auction, three US Representatives have alleged. Republicans Cliff Stearns and John Shimkus, along with Democrat Eliot Engel, said at a hearing today that Google unfairly managed to obtain an open wireless network without having to win it, by promising to bid at least $4.6 billion on the 22MHz block if the winner was forced to allow open (third-party) access. Evidence of this is claimed to be bolstered by a recent Google blog post, in which officials admit that open access was a key priority during bidding.

"I suspect that if Google had been interested in more than just maneuvering within the system," said Stearns during the hearing, "it could have prevailed in the C block and become a new [wireless] entrant. I suppose we cannot blame them for trying to get free access to the spectrum; what is more concerning is, that even though we knew what they were doing, we let them maneuver this way anyway."

The problem, according to Stearns and others, is that the open-access rule may have deterred a number of companies from bidding, giving Google what it wanted while limiting auction income to $19.1 billion instead of estimates as high as $30 billion. InfoWorld notes that Google does have the support of people such as FCC chairman Kevin Martin (pictured), who contends that open access will ultimately benefit many people and businesses.

"Our goal, in adopting the openness conditions, was not to prohibit someone else from winning, but to actually [require] whoever won that spectrum to have an open platform," said Martin today, in response to a question by Shimkus.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. climacs

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Sep 2001

    0

    it would be interesting

    to see who's been giving money to Stearns, Shimkus and Engel.

    What would the gummint have done with that extra (hypothetical) $11 billion anyway? They would have just pissed it away on a month of war in Iraq.

  1. climacs

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Sep 2001

    0

    pissing and moaning

    I'm not sure what Stearns is after here. Clearly, Google was not and is not interested in making and selling handsets. It's not what they do. They merely wanted to ensure that there was a market for Android.

    So what would Stearns have wanted to do? Ban Google from the bidding for being too clever? I think these three congressmen were paid off by Verizon and AT+T who ended up paying more than they might otherwise have bid thanks to Google.

  1. danviento

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005

    0

    OH NO!

    Waa-waa. We were outsmarted by someone who manipulated our system. They must be cheaters!

    In bids for power this big, there is no such thing as egalitarianism (not a bad thing). Get over it.

  1. loudpedal

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Oct 1999

    0

    And I'm glad they did...

    They not only gave themselves free access, the gave every company free access. I'm glad that Google brought some sanity to the whole process. This will be an extremely popular band to use for wireless activity of any kind, now that one company can't smother it and only use a fraction of its potential.

  1. MacnTX

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2004

    0

    Yeah, and?

    Or more likely pissed it away on even more pork barrel spending on meaningless pet projects in their home districts. Either way, Google did everyone a favor by assuring open access, so it's not like anybody can complain.

  1. climacs

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Sep 2001

    0

    re: pork barrel

    I understand your point regarding bridges to nowhere and other wastes, but that amounts to about $20 billion annually. The Iraq war costs $10-$12 billion each month and that only counts the current costs, not the interest on all that money we're borrowing from China and Japan to finance it or the costs of taking care of veterans over the rest of their lives or the cost of fixing the military which Bush/Cheney have broken.

    In any case, these congressmen are clearly carrying water for at least Verizon if not AT+T too. If Google had not been involved, those two would have paid LESS, not more. The auction would have raised less (perhaps far less) than $10 billion, not the $30 billion they are alleging.

  1. MyRightEye

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008

    0

    10-12 billion per month?

    And the rest... it's 1.5 billion per DAY

  1. mgpalma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2000

    0

    re:climacs

    "military which Bush/Cheney have broken. "

    Whatever, like I am sure you care about the military, and btw what does this have to do with the article? Just using it as an opportunity to bash a president you don't like. How original and transparent

    Your spite is showing through...

  1. climacs

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Sep 2001

    -1

    my point

    is that these politicians are acting all high-and-mighty like Google cheated the government out of $11 billion and what would they have done with it even if they had it?

    I do care about the military, by the way. I have friends serving and if you had the balls to say to my face that I don't, you'd find your d*** in the dirt real quick.

    You know who doesn't care about the military? People who send them off to an unnecessary war without a legitimate rationale, without a competent strategy, without adequate armor, people whose sons and daughters and political supporters make a point of NOT serving (*coughCollegeRepublicanscough*)

    As for bashing a president I don't like, it goes well beyond that. All right-thinking people can't stand Bush/Cheney and if someone can't figure out what's wrong with them, then their head is hopelessly up their arse.

    If Nuremburg principles were applied to the USA - and why shouldn't they be? - Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld would all be facing life imprisonment. How fortunate for them that capital punishment is no longer used for war criminals.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    missing the point

    These senators seem really concerned about their money, but not at all about the benefits to their constituents, let alone all Americans, that an open-access spectrum would bring them. This could potentially bring savings of Americans of more than what the gov't would have made over this time.

    But who cares about us...

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