Google confirms wireless spectrum bid

Google confirms wireless spectrum bid

Search firm takes aim at 'unlocked' wireless bands

Google has officially confirmed that it will take part in the upcoming Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wireless band auction.

The search giant said in a statement on 30 November that it had filed an application to take part in the 24 January auction for the 700MHz band formerly used for TV broadcasts.

The controversial auction will award the rights under the condition that the wireless band remains freely accessible to any mobile device running any software, rather than only carrier-approved devices.

Google has praised the effort as championing consumer rights, but telecoms groups have accused the company of rigging the auction to benefit its business model.

"We believe it is important to put our money where our principles are," said Google chairman and chief executive Eric Schmidt.

"Consumers deserve more competition and innovation than they have in today's wireless world."

Google has long been considered among the top suitors for the new spectrum, having been a major backer of the FCC campaign to place the unlock rules on the spectrum.

The search firm promised in July that it would cover the minimum $4.6m bid required to bring the rules in effect.

Google plans to file the required paperwork with the FCC on 3 December, at which point it will no longer comment on the auction in order to avoid running foul of Federal anti-collusion laws.