Google says will not participate in 2016 U.S. airwaves auction

Image: Letters spell the word “Alphabet” as they are seen on a computer screen with a Google search page in this photo illustration taken in Paris, France, August 11, 2015. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

By Deborah M. Todd and Malathi Nayak

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will not participate in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming auction of broadcast airwaves that can help the wireless industry improve coverage, a spokeswoman told Reuters on Friday.

Some industry watchers had expected Internet search giant Google to be a dark horse participant in the auction. In April last year, the company launched a new U.S. wireless service that switches between Wi-Fi and cellular networks hosted through Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US Inc’s networks.

Google last participated in a 2008 FCC auction but did not buy any airwaves.

“Like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we’ll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate,” the Google spokeswoman said.

The FCC will be auctioning off valuable 600 megahertz airwaves that can travel long distances and penetrate buildings. The auction is aimed at wireless carriers and other companies that want to improve existing wireless networks or build new ones.

Wireless providers such as Verizon Communications Inc, AT&T Inc and T-Mobile and cable operator Comcast Corp have said they will take part in the auction.

The FCC’s deadline for interested bidders to file applications to participate in the auction ended on Wednesday. The auction will kick off on March 29.

(Reporting by Malathi Nayak in New York and Deborah M. Todd in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


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