31 January 2008

Google bidding for 700mhz radio spot

It seems that Googles ambitions like the space time continuum are infinite and boundless. Not content with its Search Engine AdSense and Adwords empire the Google monster has been steadily devouring others and moving into other fields. Indeed there were accounts recently suggesting that Google was considering moving into paid reviews.

Googles latest bid for growth takes it into the auction of the 700 megahertz radio spectrum by the Federal Communications Commission. The likelihood is that whoever wins this auction will pay around $5 billion. The winner will be able one day to beam all kinds of signals, including voice, digital video, data.

At the recent World Economic Conference in Davos, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said that mobile devices with location-based advertising could spark a "huge revolution," more interesting than the personal computer.

There are also reports that as well as its involvement in the 700 mhz auction Google is trying to get access to currently unlicensed and unused bands that lie in the spectrum between television channels.

These bands were thought to be too narrow to be worth auctioning. They were designed originally to ensure that broadcasts on adjoining channels didnt bleed across. But this is a choice part of the radio spectrum used for analog television. , Its also an area that could be used for data services.

The discussions about using this so called white space spectrum has been around for years butthere have been worries about TV signal interference. The powerful broadcast lobby.was non too happy about the suggestion of using these bands.

So how would Google use these radio bands? No one really knows - apart from Google. Is Google's zeal for white space a hedge against losing the auction? Speculation is that Googles real concern is to ensure that whoever wins the auction anyone can send data through the spectrum. Theior tactics seem designed to ensure this happens. In 2007, Google persuaded the FCC to adopt a provision that ensures that networks built in the newly sold spectrum would be open to all third-party devices. Butthis provision only kicks in if the auction goes over $4.6 billion. the speculation is that Google is bidding to make sure the final price exceeds $4.6 billion.

Googles interest will be based as it always is on expanding its advertising operations and its financial growth. Google and others may need to develop new technolgies to fully exploit these spectrums but Google is short neither of financial muscle or determination in its bid to reach customers through as many channels as possible.

So the Google cash Cow looks as if its going to be grazing on fresh pastures soon. It will be interesting to see what business models Google has in mind for generating cash from the airwaves.

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