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The auction for the 700MHz band in the U.S. has been watched with keen interest by many groups for a while now. The auction is finally underway, and companies have begun placing bids. After only four days of this, the bids are already over $3.3 billion. This is still short of the $4.6 billion earmark that Google promised, and until the bid is over we don't actually get to know who is doing what, so it is far from over. However, it is blatantly obvious that these huge parties are serious about acquiring it - and hopefully serious about making good use of the network, whether public or private.
A lot of people are hoping that Google ends up acquiring the band, since they have promised to use it for the benefit of consumers as a whole. Verizon promised the same thing, though they are seen as much less trustworthy due to them taking the FCC to court over open access rules. Only time will tell.