Google’s hopes of forcing a piece of the national radio spectrum into becoming an open access wireless network came a step closer to fruition today, Marketwatch reports. The bid price on the “C block” of 700 Mhz spectrum hit $4.7 billion, enough to trigger FCC regulations that will require the spectrum to support mobile devices not made by the network’s owner.
Google’s open handset alliance is banking that open access will lead to more rapid development of software and Internet services for handsets. It is not clear if Google really wants to own the spectrum, or if it just wanted to push the price up high enough to ensure its openness. The bidders are anonymous, but given the sums involved it is speculated that only AT&T and Verizon, other than Google, are serious contenders.