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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

1 Dec, 2008 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response


FCC Opens 'White Space' To Broadband


LOS ANGELES — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the largest ever expansion of wireless Internet access last month by allowing unlicensed portions of TV airwaves, known as "white space," to be used to deliver wireless broadband services, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The controversial move to open up these white spaces passed by a unanimous FCC vote, 5-0, and promises to offer wireless Internet services across the country, most likely for free, and offer new systems for transmitting video and other data between homes. Many in the entertainment industry were in opposition to the decision, worried that Web devices will interfere with television broadcasts.

These new Internet connections in the white spaces are expected to carry signals long distance and penetrate walls and trees. However, they are also expected to be slower and less secure than commercial broadband from cable and phone companies. This is the first time in years that these airwaves, owned by the government, will be opened up to a business other than television stations. "Consumers across the country will have access to devices and services they may have only dreamed about before," says Kevin J. Martin, FCC chairman.

Companies that helped lobby for the decision to open up the airwaves included Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. But those with interests in television broadcasting fought back, saying that the new devices could knock out television reception. "The commission chose a path that imperils America's television in order to satisfy the 'free' spectrum demands of Google and Microsoft," says David Donovan, president of the Association for Maximum Service Television.


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Google Terminates Agreement With Yahoo!


SUNNYVALE, Calif. and MOUTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google has called off its agreement with Yahoo!, which would have given Yahoo! the option of using Google to provide ads on its Web sites and partners' sites in the United States and Canada.

The announcement of the advertising agreement was made in June and both companies were delaying implementation until regulators had a chance to review it. Since then, Google has been faced with threats of an antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice. Yahoo! did propose revisions to address the Department's concerns.

Google believes the agreement would have benefited publishers, advertisers and users, as well as Google and Yahoo!, by showing more relevant ads for queries that currently generate few or no advertisements. However, Google felt the benefits were not enough, according to a written statement by David Drummond, senior vice president, corporate development and chief legal officer for the company.

"After four months of a review, including discussions of various possible changes to the agreement, it's clear that government regulators and some advertisers continue to have concerns about the agreement. Pressing ahead risked not only a protracted legal battle but also damage to relationships with valued partners," writes Drummond.

Google is currently the largest provider of search advertising and Internet search syndication services, with more than 70 percent of both markets, and Yahoo! is the company's most significant competitor in both markets. For many smaller, online advertisers, this may be a blessing. Consolidation could have meant higher prices and less negotiating room.

While Yahoo! representatives stated they were disappointed, it will "not change Yahoo!'s commitment to innovation and growth in search," according to a statement from the company. However, just two weeks later, Jerry Yang announced his intention to step down as Yahoo!'s CEO.

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