. . . influence Google is having on a closely watched government auction of $10 billion in licenses to provide wireless service. The Web search giant has hired some big guns to help it shape the rules for how the auction will be carried out, reflecting the company’s growing interest in the wireless industry and the rising stakes in the battle for a crucial chunk of airwaves.
Google’s agenda is clear. As a provider of a host of Internet services, including search, e-mail, and online video through YouTube (NWS), Google wants to ensure its content can flow unimpeded and untaxed over the world’s broadband networks. One way to do that is by making sure there’s plenty of competition in the market for high-speed Internet accessâ€”in particular, from providers other than behemoths like AT&T (T) and Comcast (CMCSA). “Google’s key interest here is in seeing fourth and fifth [broadband access] pipes to the home to compete with cable and telecom companies,” says Whitt.