VCs Offer Free Wireless, Revenue Share In Exchange For Spectrum

from the do-you-take-IOUs? dept

In light of a huge spectrum auction that's scheduled to begin next month (barring any unexpected delays), some different ideas for spectrum allocation are being tossed around. There's the potential to further embrace open spectrum plans, but three well-known Silicon Valley venture-capital firms have another idea. They've formed a company and asked the FCC to grant them a 15-year license for 20 MHz of the advanced wireless services spectrum. They'd then hand over 5% of the gross revenues from a paid, high-speed wireless broadband service, but they'd also provide a slower, ad-supported free service -- much like the plans Google and Earthlink have discussed for the San Francisco WiFi network, but presumably using a wide-area technology. It's an interesting proposition, and has already provoked an annoyed response from the trade group of wireless carriers, since the current auction system favors them over new entrants. One potential stumbling block of this type of plan is that it could tie up spectrum and let it sit unused should the company fail -- but there are ways around that, and in any case, it's not like that hasn't happened with auctions in the past. There are a couple of issues with the current spectrum management policy. First is that it's not all that efficient, leaving valuable frequencies underutilized, and second is that it's become such a valuable resource that it's incredibly difficult for new entrants to get into the wireless business, hampering competition. While the VC firms' plan may not be the best solution, it's good to see people looking for alternative plans to the big-bucks, incumbent-favoring auction method.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.