John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Dr. Spectrum and the C-Block Savages

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After nine days of nail-biting excitement, the Federal Communications Commission’s auction of the 700 MHz spectrum is beginning to wind down.

The FCC instituted the auction’s “Stage Two Transition” this morning, requiring participants to bid more actively or withdraw. The move inspired hundreds of new bids, pushing the auction total to $19.02 billion. That said, aside from two middling bids on the Alaska C-Block license, no new bids were entered for the C Block licenses covering the 50 states.

With just a few more days to go, it’s looking more and more like the C Block will be sold to the bidder who offered $4.74 billion for the regional licenses that comprise the national C-Block license. Presumably, that bidder is Verizon. Which means that Google, which supposedly pushed the C-block auction over its $4.6 billion reserve price, thus activating its open-access provision, is off the hook. If it wants to be, anyway.

“Verizon wants more spectrum to close the gap between it and AT&T,” Stifel Nicolaus analyst Rebecca Arbogast told Forbes. “I’m reasonably confident that Google does not have the spectrum now.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik