In the transition from analogue to digital television – the digital switch-over – in the USA, some spectrum bands were released and the government regulating body FCC has just had an auction for them, the 700 Mhz auction.
The interesting thing about the auction was that finally there could become more competition in the already monopoly/duopoly market of cellular phones. Today AT&T and Verizon controls much of the market, but were looking at a potential competitor when Google decided to bid in the auction as well.
The FCC announced the winners yesterday. Already laying a lot of rules for bidders they were very concerned who would become the winners. But looking more and more like a market incumbent lobbyist organization than a government body, the FCC announced the winners to be none other than AT&T and Verizon.
Rich Tehrani describes the situation and concludes the following:
“The problem is that some of the deepest pockets belong to the companies who don’t want this competition and have semi-monopoly or duopoly positions.
So hats off to the FCC for doing what is in the country’s best interest [the auction brought a lot of money to the pockets of the government] but I wonder if we shouldn’t look at what is really what in our best *long-term* interest and stop worrying about the present.”
(The picture: The FCC: (L-R) Commissioners Kevin J. Martin, Kathleen Q. Abernathy, Michael K. Powell (Chairman), Michael J. Copps and Jonathan S, Adelstein.)