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January 21, 2008


Craig Plunkett

If your idea falls into place, one of the key components will be long term leases at low prices for these frequencies, perhaps tied to buildout performance. If Google wins, they have to make sure the spectrum has a physical buildout in a reasonable timeframe. From my experience at running a WISP, the commercial parameters of buildout are primary, and those dictate the technology to be deployed. The revenue ceilings for WISPs are capped right now by the current competing utliity offerings (sat/cable/dsl), and this dictates the use of unlicensed 5 and 2.4 GHz equipment, which in turn dictates the kind of footprint you need to build out. The next biggest hurdle is finding affordable mounting assets, and reducing the cost of customer premise equipment installs. 700 MHz will cut that dramatically, because you will no longer have to mount a receiver external to the premise, and your distribution network no longer needs to be as dense.

Ike Elliott

Good post, Brough. I also think that Google is bidding to win, because it serves Google's strategic goal of tearing down the walls of the wireless carriers' gardens. Google is much better positioned to effect change, sooner, if they own spectrum. More on my blog at http://ikeelliott.typepad.com/telecosm/2008/01/google-will-win.html


Thanks Ike. I normally follow your blog so I don't know how I missed that. Also your reference to Harold Feld is great. http://www.wetmachine.com/totsf/item/951 From here on out, I'll try to track Harold as well.


Craig, I agree except Google may not need to require long term leases with build out requirements. There are alternatives. What about a lite leasing arrangement somewhat similar to the FCC's lite licensing for the 3650-3700 MHz band? See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11y

I haven't thought through exactly what I'd do, but more players is better than just a few and I'll be there are other innovative schemes to get the spectrum into use that Google folks are discussing internally.

Craig Plunkett

Google doesn't need the long term, the WISP needs the long term, or at least some predictable cost framework over time to see if it's worth it to even be in the business. It is barely worth it to be in the WISP business where I am because of competitive pressures from Cablevision and Verizon. You have to mine some very narrow niches that keep getting smaller as the incumbents finish their buildouts.
Basically its building another utility, and a ground war fought with mounting assets and signing up customers for multi-year cash flows. I think there will be innovative solutions that combine fiber and wireless to build connected islands based on the Frankston model. School districts here have been building their own dark fiber nets between their buildings, and that may be a good starting point.

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