AT&T-Funded Politicians Accuse Google Of Gaming The Spectrum Auction System

from the please-explain dept

We've already explained why Google's actions in the recent 700 MHz spectrum auction wasn't "fleecing" taxpayers as some lobbyists had contended. Yet, it appears that the lobbying has been effective. A set of Congressional representatives have started asking whether or not Google gamed the system. This is a pretty bizarre claim against a company that put up $4.6 billion in an auction and was then outbid. Clearly, in putting up the bid, there was a chance that Google could have won and had to pay the $4.6 billion. There's no rule that Google had to keep bidding. The company stopped at the point at which it was comfortable bidding. Of course, it will probably surprise no one that if you look at the top campaign contributor to all 3 representatives attacking Google's actions, you'll notice a pattern (in the letters A, T and T). Check it out for yourself. There's Fred Upton, Cliff Stearns and John Shimkus. You think that had something to do with their opinion on the spectrum auction process? Nah...

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Corey Hammond, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 7:57am

    Dirt ATT

    Im not a big ATT fan, but it has been interesting to see the pre-auction, auction, and now post-auction action of this! Cant wait to see some Android phones :D

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Jake, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 8:01am

    I have to concede that it's possible that Google bid up past what they were actually willing to pay -or what the spectrum is actually worth- out of sheer spite, but it strikes me that A: it's a bit unlikely and B: it didn't work all that well, even though $4.6 billion is a hell of a lot of blunt for a radio broadcast license.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    TheDock22, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 8:10am

    There is no Game

    Google even stated that they intended to bid enough to activate the open-access requirements. So what though? They put real money on the line that they would have gladly paid if Verizon Wireless hadn't outbid them. Google was in it for one thing only, but that doesn't mean they cheated tax-payers out of money. How could it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 8:12am

    As a member of the FCC said, even if Google was bidding to up the auction cost to trigger the "open airwaves" there is no law against it nor was it in bad faith because if they won it would be $4.6 billion raised for the US govt AND taxpayers.
    Wasn't the point of the auction to raise as much money as possible for the govt? Wasn't the objective completed successfully?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    MadJo (profile), Apr 17th, 2008 @ 8:14am

    They just don't like freedom

    That's the only reason. They don't like the provisions set by Google, and are trying to weasel themselves out of it by accusing Google of gaming the auction.

    But how much more corruption can any government take before the public starts a revolt?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    MATT, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 8:20am

    Re: There is no Game= yep, = tough luck

    From a reality perspective, they made a bid they can afford. There is no gaming of the system at that point in that other people bid more than that.

    Jeezus christ ATT is really stupid on this.

    "I only wanted to pay 5 dollars for something, someone else said they'd buy it for 6. I said I really want it though, so I paid 7 to make sure it's mine. Now I'm blaming you for saying you'd buy it for 6"

    In a nutshell, that's ATT....whine somewhere else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Pat Colebank, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 8:32am

    Get this on the National Wires Somehow

    This is great and is just the type of matter that needs to get national exposure if we are ever going to get politicians working for the common good.

    I am a computer/networking neophyte, but if anyone out there knows how, please do.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Jman594, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 8:34am

    Am I wrong,

    or wasn't 4.6B the reserve price for that block?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Jman594, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 8:40am

    Re: They just don't like freedom

    I agree. I think that the entire tax system and stupid "global warming" taxes that are being imposed will be the cause for another revoulution. Not to sound like a hippie, but seriously, I am damn tired of the federal and state govenment imposing taxes by telling me that I have to buy $5 shitty light bulbs instead of my wonderfully bright $.50 bulbs.

    Al gore will make this country poor.

    (I don't exactly know how this got turned into a global warming issue. I guess I'm just pissed about loosing my freedom!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    JJ, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 8:49am

    An auction IS a game

    Of course they gamed the auction... after all, an auction is a type of game. And not just in a technical, mathematical/economic, abstract game theory sense. Go to the FCC's website and read the rules for the auction, and you'll feel like you're reading the instructions for some obscure turn-based strategy game. However, when Verizon won the auction, they clearly felt that even with the restrictions, it was worth 4.7 Billion dollars to them to own the spectrum themselves.

    AT&T seems to be claiming that if Google hadn't bid above the reserve, everybody else had a tacit agreement not to bid. But by forcing the issue, Google made other companies bid what they thought the spectrum was genuinely worth to them. In that case, AT&T is really saying that Google prevented everybody else from gaming the system in a way that would have been detrimental to consumers!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 9:39am

    Now here's an idea, politicians who take money from a company should have to recuse themselves from voting on or putting forward a bill that relates to that company.

    Can you say conflict of interest people!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    deadzone (profile), Apr 17th, 2008 @ 9:40am


    The whole thing is stupid anyway because it's not like Martin and the FCC will to anything to enforce the so-called "Open Standards" that were set up. Remember it's Martin's big buddies the phone companies that we are talking about here not the hated cable companies.

    You could bet that the "Open Standards" would be enforced by Martin and the FCC if the cable companies had won all the spectrum though. :) Otherwise, this is all just moot point and not even worth discussing from the standpoint of the open standards as it's really the fact that they had to pay another billion for the spectrum and they don't like that. It's always money. Always.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 9:55am

    Re: Re: There is no Game= yep, = tough luck

    I believe Verizon had the winning bid. Looks like they are using a "Straw Whiner" in having ATT do it's dirty work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    TheBoss, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: They just don't like freedom

    stfu. this is totally off topic and wrong. if you want to get mad, you're targeting the wrong party. the 3 names above are all republicans. but kudos to you for sharing your ignorance with the internet!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Sean Sawka, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 10:47am

    Free and Open Markets?

    Isn't is ironic that these republican @$$h0les that are complaining about how the auction went are the same people that cry about "free and open markets"? Do they only favor capitalism if it favors big business? Really, if you are a true capitalist, you take the risk, enjoy the successes, accept the failures, and don't expect the government to bail you out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: There is no Game= yep, = tough luck

    How can anyone claim that Google cost the government money on this. If any thing Google forced up the bidding price for this spectrum.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Jman594, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 4:38am

    Re: Re: Re: They just don't like freedom

    I am so glad that I have you to tell me to stfu and that I am ignorant.

    And as you sit there, angry and frustrated with the world because you have no idea what your party really means to do with our freedom, remember this:

    When this country turns to socialism, you can only blame your own ignorance.

    I will give you that it was off topic (Hell, I think that I even explained that in parenthsis), but not wrong. In fact, someday when your socialist party takes over and the country starts to look more and more like the USSR, you will have nowhere to turn but inside.

    Oh, and kudos to you for showing how hateful you and your party is. I'm sure that will change the minds of people everywhere.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    BJones, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 6:37am

    This looks familiar...

    Could have sworn I read your article yesterday...

    Keep up the good work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    mdmadph (profile), Apr 18th, 2008 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: They just don't like freedom

    I'm sorry, Internet Conservative-minded Troll #148751 (Tough-guy Model B13 "Jman594"), but nowhere did "TheBoss" even state what party he was in. Thank you for trolling today -- better luck next time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Jim, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 10:49am

    It is all about Google and their White Space efforts

    What the big CellCO really fear, and what this propaganda blitz is all about, is an effort to undermine Googles credibility with the FCC and Congress on any future efforts they make to change the rules in the Wireless Spectrum markets.
    Google is a prime mover in an effort to free up the White Space (Spectrum) and make sure it is released as an Open or Unlicensed Specrum vs. being auctioned to the big Carriers. These big boys fear is that some of this very powerful/functional spectrum would be made available to independant 3rd parties to compete with their existing Cell and planned (700Mhz) Networks.
    The Sub 400Mhz spectrum is ideal for a Local Broadband Wireless Data/Video and VOiceIP network that would run rings around their Narrowband Cell Data Nets.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Jman594, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: They just don't like freedom

    aww, you need to feel important too. thats cute. I love the fact that you think that since I'm a conservitive that I just follow along like a machine. So... original

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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