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The $10 Billion Poker Game Begins 169

Posted by Zonk
from the just-a-bit-high-stakes dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Monday was the deadline for potential bidders to file with the Federal Communications Commission over the auction of the 700-megahertz band, a useful swath of the electromagnetic spectrum that is being freed up by the move to digital television. Once bidders file they become subject to strict 'anticollusion' rules that in effect prohibit participants from discussing any aspect of their bidding until the auction is over. The next official word will be late December or mid-January, when the FCC announces who has been approved to bid. The auction will start on January 24. Participants will use an Internet system to enter bids on any of 1,099 separate licenses that are being offered (pdf). Most coveted seems to be the C block, 12 regional licenses that can be combined to create a national wireless network. This is the spectrum Google is presumed to be most interested in. The bidding will be conducted in a series of rounds (pdf)."
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The $10 Billion Poker Game Begins

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  • Oh boy! (Score:2, Funny)

    by scubamage (727538)
    I'm excited!!! Hopefully we'll actually see some genuine competition between these giants.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      You know Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T are pretty much going at it tooth and nail.
      Of all of them I still think Sprint is one of the most open. Compared to Verizon they are super open.
    • Dream on. Verizon will probably get it, after placating Google with feiged interest in the Android, enough for Google to decide to underbid in exchange-- either that or Google won't qualify at all at the last minute on some "technicality" cooked up by the FCC...

      You have to realize that the US government doesn't want this as open market telecom would likely make their mechanized eavesdropping much more expensive...
  • by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:49AM (#21572205) Journal
    Once bidders file they become subject to strict 'anticollusion' rules that in effect prohibit participants from discussing any aspect of their bidding until the auction is over.

    It's very hard to prove that you did not collude with someone. If AT&T wins, and a year later it turns out they had a secret deal with Verizon, what happens? Will the license be revoked? Or will AT&T successfully argue about the need to "put the past behind us"?
    • by MosesJones (55544) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:31PM (#21572837) Homepage
      Depends on the rules, but certainly when the UK government did a similar exercise around 3G (raising masses of cash in the process) the penalty was pretty strict. There is no reason why the penalty couldn't be "we keep the money and take back the license selling it to the 2nd placed bidder".

      Remember officially the government "own" this stuff so they get to define the terms that they want.
    • by davidsyes (765062)
      No, they will just find out why there were *1,099* licenses. Obviously, the government KNOWS someone will collude, and when found out, these "*collusionists*" will learn what a Form 1099 is for.

      "Those who receive 1099 income come from a wide spectrum."

      http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-1099-form.htm [wisegeek.com]

      The government knows how to play poker, too...
  • I'm betting google will come out with everything it intended to.
    • I'm betting google will come out with everything it intended to.

      The question is what does it intend? Do they really want national spectrum, or are they just trying to drive up the price to financially cripple competitors?
  • Bogus (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zebra_X (13249)
    This whole "bidding" process on the spectrum doesn't create compeition, it makes the government money. If it were truly competitive there would be no fee for spectrum use. Instead we are left with a new spectrum with someone spending billions of dollars to "own" it.

    Lame.

    I'm also skeptical that this can become a useful resouce in a reasonable amount of time. It's great that Google et al buys up spectrum, but what about build out? How long is that going to take? What about radios? It's probably not that much
    • Re:Bogus (Score:5, Insightful)

      by snarkh (118018) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:11PM (#21572515)

      So if there were no fee to use the spectrum, how would you choose the winner?
      You cannot just let everyone use it -- there would be a lot of interference.
      • You cannot just let everyone use it -- there would be a lot of interference.

        This is what CDMA excels at.
        • by snarkh (118018)

          Still, every technology has a limit on its capacity. You can only push so many bits through a channel before they become mashed together.
        • by davidsyes (765062)
          There'd be "interference" with cash flow, too. That's why the governments are playing Form 1099 Poker via the "internets"... They want to suck from the tubes all the spectrum income flow they can get... What an udder shame...
        • Ok say one company uses CDMA and the rest dont.
          Doesnt improve anything. Without firm rules about who owns what, the air becomes worthless.
    • Assuming the existence of a free-market economy, an auction is an *excellent* way to allocate a limited resource.

      In order for spectrum auctions to be a bad idea, we would either need to have a non-free market or spectrum would have to be a non-limited resource. There are excellent arguments for both of those claims, but you'd have to make one of them for your point to be correct.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Red Flayer (890720)

        Assuming the existence of a free-market economy, an auction is an *excellent* way to allocate a limited resource.

        No, a free-market economy precludes auctioning off a public resource to be used by a single entity. The US government is not auctioning off a good, they are auctioning off the right of use for a good theoretically available to all. By definition, this is not free-market. A truly free-market stance would open up the spectrum to all, and let the strongest signals win.

        This is not to say that I d

        • Re:Bogus (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Stewie241 (1035724) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:31PM (#21574773)
          A truly free-market stance would open up the spectrum to all, and let the strongest signals win.
          O gee... that's a brilliant idea! We'll have cell towers broadcasting over each other. Ever been in a midway point between two radio stations broadcasting on the same frequency? Sure, the phase locked loop will lock on one or the other, but what happens when you pass off from one cell to another and there is no way to guarantee that you will get picked up on the next cell. There is also no guarantee that in the middle of the conversation somebody else won't power up stronger and your call will get dropped.

          Add to that the fact that the spectrum license presumably would include limits as to transmission power for safety and other reasons. Let's just shoot very very high power microwaves every where and see what happens.

          Strongest signal wins doesn't work in the cell phone/wireless industry. Otherwise, the company with the most money could just put up signal generators cranking out radio waves to prevent anybody else from using a channel until they were ready to roll out infrastructure.
          • Thanks for getting my point. You didn't notice the tongue-in-cheekiness of my post? "If one believes"... I thought this would be enough to make it clear that I don't beleive that...

            I believe regulation is necessary, and was making the point that to bring free market ideology into the spectra question is filled with problems, since extending the free market ideology further results in useless spectra. I was taking the GP's idea that the free market is the answer by taking it to it's natural conclusion.

            • We tend to forget that collusion, like any other business model, is subject to cost-benefit analysis. It's likely the cost of this spectrum will be high enough that the incentives will be aligned toward exploiting the resource for value, rather than choking it off to obtain collusive side-benefits.

              I don't see the point of libertarian extrapolation of "free" markets. When you model the interactions of independent agents in game theory, the concept of "freedom" is nowhere to be found in the bare equations.
        • That's like saying that you can't have a free market when people own land. Exactly the opposite is true. A free market is only a meaningful term in the presence of property rights - without property rights there is no market. Any property right is a government (or societal) restriction.

          The question is which set of government restrictions is most socially beneficial.

          Interestingly, having a free market in some areas makes it impossible to have a free market in others - which makes an ideal free-market world

          • Interestingly, having a free market in some areas makes it impossible to have a free market in others - which makes an ideal free-market world impossible.

            An ideal free market is impossible anyway, since it requires full knowledge of the market by all participants. My point (thanks for catching it!) is that a free-market stance on spectra precludes a free-market stance on communications via those spectra, since allowing ownership of the spectra constitutes restrictions on how spectra are used.

            I'm definit

        • A truly free-market stance would open up the spectrum to all, and let the strongest signals win.

          Close, but not quite. A "truly free-market" system would protect existing users of a radio channel (frequency/bandwidth/location) from interference by newcomers. This is the homesteading principle applied to radio (or radio-sensitive devices, if you prefer). What you describe -- "let the strongest signal win" -- is a complete absence of property rights relating to radio and electronic interference, and in the

          • A "truly free-market" system would protect existing users of a radio channel (frequency/bandwidth/location) from interference by newcomers.

            Absolutely false. Artificial barriers to entry are anathema to both an ideal free market and to the free market ideology. This is free market economics 101.

            You make the assumption that radio spectra are equivalent to land, that property rights should apply. Your point is only valid if this assumption is true -- but it doesn't need to be true. We do not inherently

            • You make the assumption that radio spectra are equivalent to land, that property rights should apply. Your point is only valid if this assumption is true -- but it doesn't need to be true. We do not inherently need to assign property rights to the spectra.

              Absolutely false. You are arguing against a straw man, not knowing my true position on the matter.

              For the record, my position is that (a) as you say, radio spectra are not property, and thus not subject to ownership; and (b) radio-sensitive devices a

              • You are arguing against a straw man, not knowing my true position on the matter.

                No, it's not a straw man. Your argument was based on that assumption; I do not believe the assumption is valid. To quote again:Blockquote>A "truly free-market" system would protect existing users of a radio channel (frequency/bandwidth/location) from interference by newcomers. Maybe I should have asked you to define "users" since now that apparently only means receivers...

                As for your true position, you are essentially gra

                • No, it's not a straw man. Your argument was based on that assumption; I do not believe the assumption is valid.

                  I still maintain that your argument was directed at an assumption you read into my comment, that I was claiming that property rights exist in radio spectra, which is not what I had intended to portray and which I never said directly. A prohibition on transmissions which destructively interfere with existing users (transmitters and receivers) based on their property rights in their equipment is

                  • However, only the receiver is damaged directly by an interfering transmitter, so only the receiver can authorize legal action against the newcomer.

                    So someone broadcasting for commercial gain is not directly damaged by an interfering transmitter? They have been using that spectrum to communicate, yet when their transmission is overwhelmed by another broadcaster, there is no problem with that?

                    The idea is quite simple: the use of a resource in a certain way over time confers the (property) right to continue

        • by Intron (870560)
          Not quite:

          A free-market economy precludes auctioning off a public resource to be used by a single entity without compensation.

          In this case, how did the government acquire ownership of the spectrum? Did it buy it from somewhere? Why should the government keep the fees for taking and selling a public property?
          • Heh. You've got to define the spectra as property first, then everything falls into place.

            Why should the government keep the fees for taking and selling a public property?
            The government is the people (snort!). By allowing the government to keep the fees, we're offsetting another expense, so we're getting the money by not having to borrow those funds or raise taxes for whatever they get spent on.
    • The experience from the sale of 3G licences in the UK is that the bidding process put the winners in such a bad financial situation that they couldn't proceed with the rollout of 3G services in the expected timescales. The public purse might have swollen, but consumers definitely lost out.

      There's also the sad reality that the spectrum is divided among a handful of big players. Auctioning the spectrum works against small, innovative players.

  • I don't undertstand (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Phairdon (1158023)
    Can someone explain to me why a company has to pay the FCC huge gobs of money in order to use a frequency in the air? What keeps someone from using whatever the heck frequency that they want to? How can someone, in this case the FCC, take control of all frequencies and then 'sell' them to the highest bidder? To me it seems like saying you can't breathe the air around my house unless you pay me, which is dumb of course because nobody owns the atmosphere. I just don't get it, I don't understand this aspect of
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by greypilgrim (799369)
      It's about control. Do you enjoy being able to chat on your cell phone? If the frequencies were open to anyone, then everyone would use the best frequency for their application, and there would be so much interference that nothing would work. By controlling who uses which frequencies, you can ensure that interference is kept at a minimum, and devices remain useable.
      • Remember how quickly radio frequencies decrease with range. Effectively jamming short range transmissions over a large area with a single transmitter is massively expensive. The FCC could probably just put a power cap on transmissions in general - and basically turn this into a local zoning question.

    • by everphilski (877346) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:08PM (#21572485) Journal
      It is considered a natural resource ... just like land. Other countries do the same thing.

      There are portions of the spectrum that are free to use for certain non-commercial uses. Amateur radio bands, family radio bands, bands that are open to experimenters, Citizen Band radio, etc. Each comes with certain restrictions as to use and power output. Most have commercial restrictions.
      • The land analogy is, I believe, the correct one. I don't see any ethical or conceptual problems with this. There is however the question of whether or not an auction is optimal policy.

        An unused spectrum (like land) is public property. The government is entrusted with managing public goods. They have now decided that the best use, the way to get most value for the public out of this property, is to sell it. The logic is that the money and added value that private owner will create will be more than what the
        • I think the reason it is auctioned is because it really is a finite resource. Sure, wavelengths can go from a few kilohertz to many many gigahertz, but in reality when you look at the response that is good for a particular application, it gets narrowed down to a few tens or hundreds of megahertz. So it is a somewhat scarce resource, hence why it is auctioned instead of sold at a fixed price. If an infinite amount were available at the right properties, I believe it would be sold at a fixed price much like A
    • The original premise was that wireless spectrum needed to be regulated to prevent collisions.

      Government working the way it does figured out that this could be taxed, the most effective way to tax this is to auction off spectrum licenses.

      Honestly auctioning off spectrum licenses seems better than the alternative of the FCC deciding who can use what spectrum based on what their view of what is the most useful.

      Clearly the FCC has no idea what is the best application for the limited spectrum 'resources' that ar
    • by edremy (36408)
      IANAL, but I suspect it falls under the Interstate commerce clause.

      In general, the feds can regulate things like this because the alternative is total destruction of the asset. Without some kind of central control, everyone gets to play and they stomp all over each other. Sure, you can set up a transmitter, but then so can your neighbor, and he can do it at the same frequency and a higher power. Neither of you can stop your transmissions from bleeding over onto the guy two streets down. (Of course, ev

      • Of course, even with the FCC around this doesn't always work, especially if you are a small, public university station and there's a huge religious broadcaster who is willing to bend the rules


        That's a bit dishonest, they're both University stations funnily enough.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Diss Champ (934796)
      The FCC is a part of the government. The government has a monopoly on force. If it says you have to pay to do something, and it has a reasonable way to detect that you are doing it, then they usually get the money, either through official means like this auction, or unofficial means like officials being bribed to look the other way.

      The government thinks it owns the air you breathe too. You might not have noticed, but there are all sorts of regulations regarding vehicle and industrial emissions. Most people
    • Can someone explain to me why a company has to pay the FCC huge gobs of money in order to use a frequency in the air?

      If you're not American, I can understand your question to a certain extent, but such regulation is also done all around the world. The Communications Act of 1934 set up the FCC in the USA and gave them the authority to regulate all non-Federal Government use of the radio spectrum, which includes radio and TV broadcasting. Since they regulate it, they in effect "own" it and thus can sell t
      • Regulation is not necessarily evil, despite what you with your presumed libertarian views might think.
        A libertarian view would agree with the private ownership of the spectrum and the regulation that goes along with it. What they wouldn't agree with is the way the FCC continues to muck with what you're allowed to do with the spectrum after you lease it. For example, fining Howard Stern shouldn't be the job of the FCC (or anyone for that matter).
    • Because some things in all practicality MUST be regulated by the government, or you end up w/ a cluster fsck. For example, I lived in Italy (Army brat) in the late 80s-early 90s and the radio stations there didn't have the same regulations on ownership of frequency separation-distance that we're used to in the states. So, stations that picked aestheticly pleasing frequencies or only cared about the metro would cause havok on the outskirts of their range.

      Now, auctioning off frequencies to the highest bidd

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Starfisher (1198219)
      If anyone could use any frequency without having to check to make sure it wasn't already in use, you'd quickly run into some communications and quality issues. To prove this, take 1000 people, give them radios that can select between five frequencies, and have them try to have 500 private conversations. So the FCC exists in order to regulate the airwaves, ensuring that you don't get interference. Someone has to pay for the staffing and operation of the FCC, so they came up with the idea that if you want to
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Can someone explain to me why a company has to pay the FCC huge gobs of money in order to use a frequency in the air?

      And speaking of which, what does the FCC have to do with interstate commerce? Perhaps they could regulate broad casting between states, but if I have a device that doesn't broadcast over state lines where is the basis in the original framework for such an organization to dictate who or what does something with the device you built.

      Now I suppose the FCC could regulate devices that are shipped
      • by Tacvek (948259)

        Can someone explain to me why a company has to pay the FCC huge gobs of money in order to use a frequency in the air?

        And speaking of which, what does the FCC have to do with interstate commerce? Perhaps they could regulate broad casting between states, but if I have a device that doesn't broadcast over state lines where is the basis in the original framework for such an organization to dictate who or what does something with the device you built.

        Now I suppose the FCC could regulate devices that are shipped from overseas or interstate wise but if you build it yourself then why should they have a say?

        The real reason is that if the FCC did not regulate radio signals inside a state, then the state would need to. The states simply are not interested in that. If they were they would have challenged the FCC already. After all, the resources the FCC needs to regulate interstate transmission of radio signals make it the ideal candidate for regulating radio signals inside the state. Further, remember that there is no reason a state could not delegate some of their rights to a Federal Agency. Is is really that

    • by superwiz (655733)
      Yeah! And how can government just tax land? No one owns land. It's just there. C'mon. It's a limited resource which government can prevent anyone from using. Since it is limited -- multiple people can't use pretty much just as multiple people can't use the same piece of land -- the only fair way to determine who gets to use it is to auction it off. At least at that point whoever has it bought it for the most money and will be forced to put it to most use.
  • by TheHawke (237817) <{rchapin} {at} {pelicancoast.net}> on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:03PM (#21572413)
    Sniping, anyone?
    • by Duncan3 (10537)
      Turns out when grownups run an auction, it doesn't work the same way as it does on Ebay. Real auctions go until noone else _wants_ to bid.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:03PM (#21572419)
    Did we ever pass an ammendment that granted the federal government the right to regulate the electromagnetic spectrum? I don't speak legalese but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't put in there when the Constitution was written.
    • by snarkh (118018)
      Interstate commerce, I suppose.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kcornia (152859)
        Yep, I bet you couldn't come with anything in your lifetime that some congressperson wasn't able to tie to interstate commerce somehow...

        There are 16 enumerated powers granted to the legislative branch by the constitution. ALL other laws flow from one of two things, 1) interstate commerce, and 2) the clause at the end of the enumeration (article 1, section 8) that says "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this
        • by snarkh (118018)
          Don't get me wrong, it works fairly well most of the time, but it is a far cry from what the founders could have imagined.

          I agree with you. However, regulating the spectrum does not seem to be such a far-fetched application of the interstate commerce clause. Certainly, radio waves cross the state borders freely.
          • And additionally, that part of the spectrum (formerly used for TV channels) definately fell under the category of commerce, what with all the ads and everything.
    • by jea6 (117959)
      I can't tell if you're a troll or not. In any case, take a look at Article I, Section 8, Clause 3: "The Congress shall have power . . . To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;".
      • by vertinox (846076)
        So if I build my own TV and or radio station which does not broadcast over state lines then I should be fine without an FCC license right?

        Oh wait...
        • Good luck with that. You can't just 'stop' radio waves from propagating ... with enough power to service the community in question, someone with a high enough gain antenna the next state over will pick up your station.
        • Does it interfere with any licensed services? Does it create unfair competition to any licensed services? Is it operated in a safe manner?

          I don't think you've thought it through.
          • by vertinox (846076)
            Does it interfere with any licensed services? Does it create unfair competition to any licensed services? Is it operated in a safe manner?

            That wasn't the jist of the statement. The question is why does the FCC get to regulate frequencies when it could be just as well regulated by State governments when it doesn't affect interstate commerce.
            • That wasn't the jist of the statement. The question is why does the FCC get to regulate frequencies when it could be just as well regulated by State governments when it doesn't affect interstate commerce.

              The area in which a radio broadcast would be contained within a single state would be pretty small, especially in the northeast. People living near a state border would be completely screwed because no sane broadcaster would want to figure out how to place transmitters so that the signal never crosses a state line. As a simple experiment, try creating a map of the United States using only circles. It's simply not feasible.

            • Because any operation on those frequencies DOES affect interstate commerce, even if your operation doesn't cross interstate boundaries.

              Consider the case you are proposing. If you are operating on a frequency that is in use in a neighboring state, you may not interfere with users in that state, but you may interfere with interstate users in your state. That's interference with interstate commerce, same as if you blocked an interstate highway with a railroad car. Would you consider the argument "but the
    • by jo7hs2 (884069)
      See Article I, Section 8, Clause 3.
    • Article I, Section 8, Clause 3: "The Congress shall have power... To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;"

      Like it or not, RF crosses state and national boundaries, and requires an enforced monopoly to be usable. Thus, the commerce clause applies.
  • so.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:16PM (#21572599)
    Bids are exclusively via the internet, and Google probably has enough smart people and resources to intercept a few packets from other bidders....
    • What would be scary is if ATT could have a mechanism to do that.

      Did I mention that I just woke up from a coma and am still stuck in 1999? I can't wait for the Y2K...

    • by Anpheus (908711)
      The routers are all owned by AT&T :(
    • by nahdude812 (88157) *
      I'm pretty sure it was just a joke, but presumably since there's this aura of secrecy, the FCC would have at least invested in some SSL certs. And as others pointed out, AT&T probably owns most of the fiber over which these bids will travel... and has already demonstrated that they think they have a right to snoop on data traveling across their network.
  • by skelly33 (891182) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:26PM (#21572755)
    Why don't they allocate the space to a certain communication technology with established rules for non-interference and then open it up any company to compete? (think wifi) Why should one company have a monopoly on a wavelength? (think broadcast TV/radio) With sophisticated and (relatively) inexpensive packetization and multiplexing available, is there any real need for single-operator wavelength allocation any more? This seems so... early 20th century.
    • by Hoplite3 (671379)
      With frequency hopping, this is absolutely possible. The tech was developed to prevent jamming, and it's now cheap to implement using software defined radios. Inexpensive devices could absolutely pick out one signal from all the cross-talk.

      I could understand a single-operator-per-wavelength for an emergency spectrum. Keep the emergency equipment as simple as possible, sure. But open the rest of it up!

      Well, I guess it'll never happen. There's too much money in the media monopolies and too much technical
      • by QuoteMstr (55051)
        IANAEE, but the total bandwidth is still limited no matter how you slice it up. When demand exceeds supply, the interference will be so great as to make the spectrum useless for everyone. It's a textbook tragedy of the commons example, and regulation is necessary to prevent human nature from ruining it completely.
    • by eison (56778)
      One guy decides to broadcast hdtv streaming video of his pet rock collection to the entire country, and finds a way to do it using enough bandwidth to ruin everything for everyone.
      There isn't unlimited signal available, no matter how good you make encoding it completely unregulated transmission would find a way to use it all up for nothing. And if you're going to need to have regulation, might as well sell it to a company to regulate rather than trust a government official to get it right.
  • I read just the PDF presentation with the rules, and it was absolutely crazy with minimum required bids, rounds, waivers, and everything else. What an extraordinarily complex procedure! Now I understand why Google hired some game theory experts on this!

    I think Google will end up purchasing spectrum, but then sublicensing it out to others. Requires no additional build-out. I also have to think that Google is going to be the smartest about how they approach this auction. I'd love to see a post-mortem on the a
  • Can Google survive the first round if they only bid the Reserve price? Hate to see them eliminated from the beginning.

    Actually, I'd hate to see any of the incumbent telcos/wireless companies get their hands on this. I want a new competitor here.

  • google forecast (Score:2, Interesting)

    This is probably totally obvious to most:

    The future of the internet is in mobile technology. Except for corporate, mission-critical operations, I think that the majority of internet/TV usage will be done from a mobile device. Even residential internet/TV access will probably be delivered wirelessly (to the premises). The high-speed internet Television market is already a ridiculously profitable area to be in and it will only grow larger. I already consider my internet connection to be almost as important

    • So what if all of the sudden a wireless medium became available that could reach anybody in any place? You no longer have to worry about laying your own fiber and other infrastructure. No longer do you have the expensive barriers to the ISP market. This is where I think Google wants to be. They already have ton's of content, now they'd have their own means to deliver it (and make you pay -- probably). They essentially want to be the one-stop shop for anything internet and probably TV (the line between the t
  • I did a bunch of experimental mock auctions as part of a college experimental economics lab. The rules for the auction aren't too difficult or different from many of the auctions that I participated in.

    Here's my opinion on some of the rules and their effects:
    1) Package bidding (where someone can bid on a group of licenses and wins or loses all the licenses) -- this helps the large, national bidders that see synergy from owning a number of regional licenses. As the minimum required bid for individual license
  • Just free it. Get the Gov out.

    Have independent oversight committee create an internet free network.

    F-corporates who hoarde our resources.
  • We had some telecoms bidding for some stff here as well a few years ago. Some of them went almost bankrupt over it.
  • When they did this in the UK, I was working for one of the companies bidding (although I had nothing to do with it), and we all got totally addicted to watching the game unfold.

    The four incumbent operators (at the time, it was Vodafone, BT, Orange, and One2One) weren't allowed to bid on the biggest slice, so you had a load of new faces slugging it out for that one. These companies were also allowed to bid for the other four slices, but basically the four incumbents couldn't afford not to secure a slice, so

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