Google is poised to bid $4.6 billion in the upcoming federal auction of wireless frequencies, to create a national broadband network that could challenge the dominance of companies like AT&T and Comcast. If Google's bid triumphs, the web search giant could expand into selling Internet, telephone and television services—or have other providers do it for them, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
But Google is threatening not to bid at all unless federal regulators require the auction's winner to lease out portions of the wireless "spectrum" to third parties. The goal, the company says, is to spur competition to drive prices down. "When Americans can use the software and handsets of their choice, over open and competitive networks, they win," urged Google's CEO in a letter to the FCC.