Google `Gamed' Airwave Sale, Republican Lawmakers Say (Update1)
By Molly Peterson
April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. manipulated a U.S. government spectrum auction by bidding just enough to trigger rules that will open a nationwide set of airwaves to any device and then walking away, Republican lawmakers said.
The so-called open-access requirements, also backed by consumer groups, may have shortchanged taxpayers by discouraging more companies from bidding, Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, said today at a hearing.
``Google was successful in gaming the system,'' Upton said. The rules were a ``social engineering'' experiment by the Federal Communications Commission that prevented the spectrum swath, known as the C-block, from raising billions of dollars more, he said.
Google offered $4.71 billion for the C-block, surpassing a $4.6 billion threshold that activated the rules. Verizon Wireless later won the airwaves with a $4.74 billion offer. Google, the most-used search engine, said that while it was prepared to win the airwaves, its main goal was to ensure the open-access rules took effect.