May 22

Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly

Google Calls for Real-Time Spectrum Allocation

A few weeks ago, I wrote an entry called What Would Google Do? suggesting that it's a productive exercise to think how the Web 2.0 approach could be applied to other types of businesses. Well today, buried deep inside the NY Times business section, I found a John Markoff article that ought to have been on the front page, if we're measuring future significance: Google Proposes Innovation in Radio Spectrum Auction.

Google filed a proposal on Monday with the Federal Communications Commission calling on the agency to let companies allocate radio spectrum using the same kind of real-time auction that the search engine company now uses to sell advertisements....

In their proposal, Google executives argue that by permitting companies to resell the airwaves in a real-time auction would make it possible to greatly improve spectrum use and simultaneously create a robust market for innovative digital services. For instance, a company could resell its spectrum on an as-needed basis to other providers, the executives said in their formal proposal to the federal agency....

The Google proposal will be endorsed this week by one of the consortiums that is planning to bid in the spectrum auction: Frontline Wireless, an investor group founded by Reed E. Hundt, a former F.C.C. commissioner, with a number of Silicon Valley venture capitalists including the Google investors L. John Doerr and Ram Shriram.

“I’m hoping we treat spectrum as a scarce renewable resource which should be used for the common good of the consumer and to make available the most innovative devices that can connect to those consumers,” Mr. Shriram said.

Mr. Hundt said in an e-mail message: “We propose that one quarter of the capacity of the network that uses this spectrum must be sold not in a long-term service contract but instead in ongoing open auctions to any and all comers.”

There are two big stories here. The first is the big idea I talked about a few weeks ago, that the real-time nature of Web 2.0, turning applications into data-driven "live software" rather than leaving data analysis as a batch back-office task, could transform areas far from the consumer internet. The second is the specific idea of freeing up the inefficient allocation of radio spectrum using technology. Both are really important news. Pay attention!

And send us your thoughts on other applications of real-time data mining. (Artur's post mentioning differences in driving patterns with real time MPG feedback is a good example of how this approach could provide interesting solutions to our energy crisis. What others do you see?)

tags: web 2.0  | comments: 0   | Sphere It

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