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Google CEO Says Company Likely to Bid on Wireless Spectrum

Kim Hart

Google will "probably" participate in the federal auction of valuable airwaves early next year, chief executive Eric Schmidt told a group of telecom and technology executives last night.

After flying his own twin-engine jet into Aspen to give the keynote speech at a conference held by Washington think tank Progress & Freedom Foundation, Schmidt said the company "got the spirit of what we were asking for" in the auction rules passed last month by the Federal Communications Commission.

Google, along with other like-minded public interest groups and Internet companies, had asked for a large portion of the airwaves to be set aside for an "open" wireless network that would be compatible with any wireless device, any software and any third-party company seeking to lease capacity on that network. The FCC cleared the way for a network that can work with any device, but stopped short of granting Google's other requests.

Google had said the FCC's decision made the airwaves less appealing, but did not rule out participating in the auction.

In his first public discussion of the company's intentions, Schmidt said it is "highly likely that...we will see a regulatory framework that is conducive to that bid."

Schmidt, wearing a dark blue blazer and a yellow-striped shirt, also answered pointed questions about Google's stance on network neutrality, or the principal that would bar Internet service providers from giving priority to certain content on its way to consumers.

He said net neutrality should not be an issue as long as consumers have enough choices between Internet service providers.

"At the end of the day, if people have choices, the market will sort itself out," he said, adding "the problem is many people do not" have choices.

By Kim Hart  |  August 21, 2007; 11:53 PM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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The principal? Are you sure?

Posted by: Freddy Grammar | August 22, 2007 10:20 PM

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