Google Preps Broadband Bid

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has given the strongest signals yet that it may bid in the coming Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 700 MHz wireless broadband auction in the United States.

"We are making all the necessary preparations to become an applicant to bid in the auction," the firm said in a statement Friday, without actually fully committing to making a bid.

"FCC rules require us to reveal our plans by December 3, and we fully intend to do so," the company promised.

Google has always expressed an interest in the C-block of the 700 MHz band that will be vacated by analog TV broadcasters in 2008. The firm has pressed the FCC to adopt so-called "open access" rules for the spectrum, letting users more easily switch between carriers and load software onto their devices. The FCC agreed to some of these proposals as long as a minimum reserve of $4.6 billion for the spectrum is met in the auction. (See Google's 700MHz Bet and FCC Straddles Open Access Issue.)

The further spectrum moves follow Google's foray into mobile phone software with its Android platform. The firm intends to put together an open-source software environment for handsets, backed by a consortium of carriers and hardware and software vendors. (See Google: Android's Not Evil.)

Analysts agree that Google's mobile plans will help it open up new advertising revenue streams. The firm itself says: "Our goal is to make sure that American consumers have more choices in an open and competitive wireless world."

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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