I get a kick out of all the speculation surrounding Internet content firms looking to build their own wireless broadband networks in light of the network neutrality issue. Do folks really believe Google or eBay would pay billions for spectrum and then billions more to run their own networks? Would investors let them? The FCC is auctioning off spectrum this summer, and maybe we'll see some interesting consortiums of content players, but it's a difficult road. Running a WiFi network for a municipality is vastly different and less complicated from running a large commercial network replete with high-end video services. And there's a big reputation on the line. I have a hard time believing a Google would see any benefit from running its own wireless broadband network (let alone a greenfield mobile WiMAX network) to sell more of its own content. The two seem to cancel each other out when you look at how difficult it is to reach profitability as a telecom operator. Content players would just be better off cutting deals where operators get the bulk of revenue. Everyone talks about telecom operators becoming a dumb pipe, but I don't think they are so "dumb" after all.
Congratulations to Brian Coady, winner of the Motorola Q device we raffled off for taking the FierceWireless-Bluefire Wireless Security Survey. Thanks again to all of you who took the survey. Even though you didn't win the Q, you can take consolation in helping us advance market research on these issues. Click here to read preliminary results. - Lynnette