From a pool of 266 applicants, Google Airwaves, Inc. is one step closer to bidding on the 700 MHz spectrum, up for auction because it is being vacated by television stations mandated to transition to digital broadcasts starting January 24, 2008. As such, ownership of the 700 MHz spectrum will return to US government, which plans to quickly convert the airwaves into much needed cash by auctioning off the wireless spectrum to the highest bidder. There may be Google wireless plan in you future, some speculate.

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According to Google, “As part of the nationally mandated transition to digital television, the 700 MHz spectrum auction—which begins January 24, 2008—will free up spectrum airwaves for more efficient wireless Internet service for consumers. Advocacy by public interest groups and Google earlier this year helped ensure that regardless of which bidders win a key portion of the spectrum up for auction (the so-called “C Block”), they will be required to allow their users to download any software application they want on their mobile device, and to use any mobile devices they would like on that wireless network. The winner must ensure these rights for consumers if the reserve price of $4.6 billion for the C Block is met at auction.”

“We believe it’s important to put our money where our principles are,” said Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, Google in a company