Tomorrow the FCC will begin auctioning several chunks of the public airwaves. With the latest government figures indicating that the number of mobile wireless high-speed subscribers in America grew by more than 600 percent in 2006, and every indication that the Mobile Internet will continue to boom, the auction is likely to be a high-stakes nail biter. Unfortunately, it's also an event so complex and shrouded in industry specific terminology that it can be difficult for outsiders to follow. Thankfully, Silicon Valley Insider is offering boiled down answers to common questions about the auction, including:
Who Wants What? The big prize is the "C-block," a huge swath of spectrum that has a minimum price of $4.6 billion. The big wireless guys want this so they can build a new wireless broadband network. This is also what Google is interested in.
How Can You Watch? You can't. Unlike the last spectrum auction, in which the FCC posted periodic updates about the bidding on the Web, this year's auction will be a black box, more or less.
Will The Economy Affect The Bids? It might: The bidders may have less to play with than they did six months ago. And even if they have the same war chest, they're likely to be a bit more reluctant to make big bets.
CNET is offering in-depth coverage for those who are interested in the nitty-gritty details, and the public can follow the bidding at this FCC site.
(Image of tower by Uncleweed, CC 2.0)