22 July 2007

Good or Evil, Google At Least Does Openness

Although much of the shine has worn off the Google halo, there's no denying that, regardless or whether its acting purely from altruistic motives (probably not), it certainly gets the benefits of openness:

Google announced today that should the Federal Communications Commission adopt a framework requiring greater competition and consumer choice, Google intends to participate in the federal government’s upcoming auction of wireless spectrum in the 700 megahertz (MHz) band.

In a filing with the FCC on July 9, Google urged the Commission to adopt rules for the auction that ensure that, regardless of who wins the spectrum at auction, consumers' interests are served. Specifically, Google encouraged the FCC to require the adoption of four types of "open" platforms as part of the license conditions:

* Open applications: Consumers should be able to download and utilize any software applications, content, or services they desire;
* Open devices: Consumers should be able to utilize a handheld communications device with whatever wireless network they prefer;
* Open services: Third parties (resellers) should be able to acquire wireless services from a 700 MHz licensee on a wholesale basis, based on reasonably nondiscriminatory commercial terms; and
* Open networks: Third parties (like internet service providers) should be able to interconnect at any technically feasible point in a 700 MHz licensee's wireless network.

Today, as a sign of Google’s commitment to promoting greater innovation and choices for consumers, CEO Eric Schmidt sent a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, stating that should the FCC adopt all four license conditions requested above, Google intends to commit a minimum of $4.6 billion to bidding in the upcoming 700 MHz auction.

This could get interesting.

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