This coming week at Web 2 I am leading a discussion on the wireless market. This is not my area of expertise, but I am fascinated by the ongoing fight between Google and its allies, on the one side, and the telecommunication companies on the other. (Background here and here).
To that end, I’ve got a very interesting panel of experts gracing the Edge: Wireless session. On the side of Google and an more open approach to the 700 Mhz spectrum is Ram Shriram, an early Google investor and board member, and also a Board member at Frontline Wireless, a holding company of sorts which exists to leverage the 700Mhz spectrum should it be able to acquire licenses. (Reed Hundt, former FCC chair, is Vice Chair of Frontline).
On the other side of the issue is Thomas Tauke, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at Verizon Communications. Tauke is a former Iowan congressman and member of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee. He has the rather unenviable job of defending his industry in front of what will most likely be a skeptical audience.
To add another element to the conversation, I’ve also asked Martin Varsavsky, CEO of FON, to join the panel. FON represents a novel approach to blanketing the world in wireless spectrum – leveraging WiFi as a grass roots platform, the goal being bypassing the telcos through mass adoption. FON has some good stories to tell in parts of Europe, but not a lot of traction in the US, so far.
Now, with a panel such as this, there’s sure a lot to discuss, but I fear my own ignorance will stunt the conversation. What would you like to hear? I could really use your help. Thanks!