Since rules for the ongoing 700 MHz spectrum auction prohibit participants from talking about pretty much anything, it may be some time before we hear the full story behind the last-minute collapse of Frontline Wireless, the Reed Hundt/John Doerr-backed attempt to create a new national wireless broadband provider.
Harold Feld over at Wetmachine last week opened up the can of worms asking whether or not former Nextel chief Morgan O’Brien killed Frontline, citing some anonymous sources close to the proceedings. It’s pretty deep into the insider-baseball details, but basically from the sounds of it O’Brien — who had a similar plan to Frontline’s called Cyren Call — may have mucked up the works via his attempts to become the broadband negotiating agent for public-service concerns.
Having seen O’Brien in action when he pitched the Cyren Call idea, all I can say is that he’s a hell of a salesman. I can also say that he has no shortage of enemies in the telecom-o-sphere. Should O’Brien be the reason for Frontline’s collapse — and the apparent complete lack of interest by any bidders in the D block of spectrum — there’s gonna be some ’splainin to do.
Feld, for one, calls for the FCC to halt the auction while it investigates, but I doubt that will happen. Susan Crawford (thanks for the pointer Susan) wonders what will become of the D Block should it go unauctioned, which looks like it might happen.
Anyone want to bet that we’ll be talking about this a bit in Boulder next month?