John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Your Search–’Put Up or Shut Up'–Did Not Match Any Documents. Did You Mean: 'Go Screw Yourself'?

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Not satisfied with a compromise proposal from Chairman Martin that meets most of its conditions, Google has now delivered an all-or-nothing ultimatum to the U.S. government, insisting that every single one of their conditions ‘must’ be met or they will not participate in the spectrum auction. Google is demanding the government stack the deck in its favor, limit competing bids and effectively force wireless carriers to alter their business models to Google’s liking. We would repeat that Google should put up or shut up–they can bid and enter the wireless market with any business model they prefer, then let consumers decide which model they like best.”

Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs

Oh, it’s on now. Google yesterday dismissed AT&T’s criticism of its conditional pledge to drop at least $4.6 billion on the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming 700-megahertz spectrum auction, characterizing it as the rhetoric of an oligopolist more interested in monopoly profits than openness and innovation.

In a post to the Google Policy Blog, Richard Whitt–Google’s Washington telecom and media counsel–gutted AT&T’s argument that the search sovereign’s spectrum bid “is an attempt to pressure the U.S. government to turn the auction process on its head by ensuring only a few, if any, bidders will compete with Google.” Google isn’t out to skew the spectrum auction in its favor, said Whitt, it’s out to un-skew it, rejiggering it so it no longer favors incumbent carriers like AT&T who would like nothing more than to continue to operate in a “less than fully competitive” environment.

“Our position is simple enough,” Whitt explained. “FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and the other commissioners have argued persuasively that we need a real third-pipe broadband competitor in this country. They also believe that the upcoming 700 MHz auction is the best way to get there. All we are saying is that, based on what we know, new broadband competition will emerge from the upcoming auction only if the FCC’s rules allow it to happen. For Google, and other potential new entrants, the prevailing imbalance can be corrected most effectively by introducing license conditions based on open platforms. … While Google embraces the kinds of openness and innovation that are the hallmark of the Internet, the incumbents apparently prefer their existing business models. That of course is their prerogative. However, open platforms–specifically, open applications, open devices, open wholesale services and open network access–together make the spectrum more valuable to Google, or any other potential bidder seeking to create innovative, higher-speed, lower-priced offerings.”

Clearly, Google does not intend to “shut up,” as Cicconi suggested it should. But it will “put up” a wireless business given the chance. Perhaps even one created with the help of the smaller carriers being squeezed out of the market by the AT&Ts and Verizons of the world. “We see a lot of companies in this space who we would love to collaborate with,” Google’s Chris Sacca told Bloomberg. “There are a lot of folks who would love to compete.”


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