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Last Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007, 16:08 GMT
Google sets sights on US airwaves
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Google will be able to launch new services if it wins the auction
Google has announced it is in the running for a slice of the US airwaves that would allow it to launch a nationwide wireless internet network.

Part of the spectrum, called the C Block, is being sold by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in an auction starting at $4.6bn (2.2bn).

The planned transition to digital TV services in the US has freed up the wireless capacity.

The C Block radio waves will be free from early 2009.

Google hopes that the new network capacity will allow it to compete directly with existing mobile communications companies.

At the moment, most mobile phone companies force users to use particular software to operate their handsets.

The FCC has specified that whoever wins the auction must use it to allow users to operate whatever software they want.

Google recently announced plans to develop software for mobile phones.

Eric Schmidt, Google chief executive, promised that whoever wins the auction US consumers would "see more choices than ever before in how they access the Internet".

The C Block is in the 700 megahertz band of the wireless spectrum.

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