Google Has Lots Of Competition For FCC's 700 Mhz Auction

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Thus far, 96 applications have been accepted for filing and another 170 have been rejected as incomplete in preparation for the auction beginning on Jan. 24. The deadline for incomplete applications to be approved for consideration has been extended until Jan. 4, 2008, from Dec. 28.

Among the candidates approved for bidding thus far are Google Airwaves, CTC Telecom, Fidelity Communications, Paul Allen's Vulcan Spectrum, as well as lesser-known applicants such as Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative and Vermont Telephone Company.

Some more well-known entries are still listed as incomplete, including communications companies Alltel, ATandT, Cox Wireless, Qualcomm and Verizon Wireless, and even oil giant Chevron.

Earlier this year, Google reportedly asked the FCC for changes in the auction format, which some observers believe would have benefited Google.

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Earlier this month, Google executives discussed the auction with FCC officials, including FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, according to Reuters. The FCC did not change the auction process, but with Google's backing, the FCC said a large portion of the spectrum will have to be open to networks to allow consumers to use any device on those frequencies. But the FCC did not require open access to be resold on a wholesale basis.

" Google is ready to bid at least the reserve price of $4.6 billion for the so-called "C Block" of spectrum, according to the company.

"We believe it's important to put our money where our principles are," said Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google, in a statement last month. "Consumers deserve more competition and innovation than they have in today's wireless world. No matter which bidder ultimately prevails, the real winners of this auction are American consumers who likely will see more choices than ever before in how they access the Internet."