There's a minor buzz in the news this morning that Google is thinking of buying wireless spectrum in upcoming auctions after co-founder Larry Page "didn't rule it out" (via Broadband Reports) -- despite CEO Eric Schmidt later saying the company had no plans to bid. Ten days ago, the supposed motivation for Google getting its own spectrum was network neutrality concerns, and now, it's just because they love giving people free Internet access. While Google does have deep pockets, buying spectrum -- then building out a viable network -- is a huge project (for reference, Cingular spent $1.4 billion in capital expenditure in the first quarter alone, and that's not starting a network from scratch), and one that would take a hell of a lot of ad impressions to repay. This type of story pops up again and again, whether it's about somebody buying spectrum, or operating a network in unlicensed airwaves, but the reality remains the same: building out a decent US wireless network is neither cheap nor easy, and the finances of doing so, as opposed to using existing infrastructure, simply aren't compelling.
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