Despite Google flashing cash and lobbying prowess and pleas from technologists, the FCC has decided that the upcoming 700MHz auction will not require network neutrality provisions or operate as a wholesale network. Consumer groups are calling it a mixed bag since the winner cannot restrict which devices can be used on the network but there will likely be no competing providers. Despite these setbacks, Google still wants to make a play for this valuable slice of spectrum. I suppose we should just be glad the FCC isn't giving this one away.
Robert Cringley thinks it's a foolish thing to bet the farm on, but not so much so if you connect the dots. Google's money-maker has always been selling advertising. To that end, they want to extend the reach of their ad network as far as they can. It could be in the form of expensive "partnerships" with mobile carriers. More likely it's a Google-branded phone. Take Google's announcement of a prototype cell phone, a device no doubt designed to increase its reach beyond the PC. An open 700MHz network works in their favor since they could sell a single phone to multiple carriers and capture a gigantic market.
Google's smart enough to hedge their bets. The partnership with Sprint comes amid the cellular provider's partnership with Clearwire to jointly build a nationwide WiMax network, one they promise will be competitive with the 700MHz spectrum.