Google's 700 Up

7:50 PM -- Well, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) got what it wanted through the 700 MHz auctions -- a nationwide wireless broadband network with mandated "open access" provisions -- and it won't pay a red cent for the spectrum itself. (See Verizon & AT&T Win 700 MHz Sweeps.)

We don't know for sure yet, but it seems likely that the search giant helped to bid up the C-Block of the 700 MHz auction so that it hit the $4.6 billion reserve that triggered the open access conditions that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandated for the network. Google even said it would match the reserve price as part of its negoiations with the FCC before the auction took place. (See Google Confirms 700MHz Bid.)

This will mean that a portion of the C-block-based network that Verizon Wireless will eventually deploy must allow any compatible devices on the network and enable users to pull down code and applications over that radio spectrum. This, perhaps, isn't quite the open panacea it might seem, since the spectrum is likely to be used for 4G services, which may not be compatible with existing handsets.

Nonetheless, it's a step in a different direction for the U.S. wireless industry. Something that Verizon appears to have anticipated with its own moves to open up its CDMA network this year and its LTE network when that is built out, quite possibly using some or all of the spectrum it has just won. (See Verizon Reveals 'Open Access' Details.)

All of which is good for Google as it gives the search giant much easier access to the phones and bandwidth it needs to get its software on, if the company is to become as huge in mobile as it evidently wants to be.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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