Google has news for the FCC – there is a better way to auction wireless spectrum, and we can show you how. And as a bonus, it may invite more competition, a stated desire of the current FCC regime. Google suggests using a “real-time airwaves auction model,” which is very similar in concept to their online advertising auction system. In so doing, Google claims that spectrum will be better utilized because spectrum winners can wholesale pieces of spectrum that they don’t intend to use to other potential service providers.
On the surface, this sounds encouraging. The current system is grossly inefficient and allows wide geographic areas of the country to suffer from poor or non existent wireless coverage. Large national carriers buy spectrum and deploy service in densely populated areas, and often ignore the outlying rural territories. If this proposal were able to deliver on its promise, smaller carriers and other entrepreneurs who have an interest in serving less dense areas, may now have the wherewithal to buy spectrum. This could lead to a dramatic rise in wireless broadband connectivity across the entire U.S., allowing rural markets to enjoy the same wireless broadband benefits that urban markets do today. The future implications of this scenario may provide a competitive “third pipe” of broadband connectivity to every locality in the U.S.