Google and the FCC, BFF

Put aside all the technical stuff about white spaces technology, since it’s not going to help you get a faster broadband connection anytime soon. What was really amazing Thursday in San Jose was watching FCC chairman Kevin Martin and Google co-founder Larry Page hold court together, like two buds just hanging out talking tech and policy. It’s an incredible development for both the agency and the search giant company, showing how far both have progressed since Google started taking policy seriously just a short time ago.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin, left, and Google co-founder Larry Page.

Since there’s a bunch more panels going on here today, including a net neutrality discussion featuring three of our top 10 influencers in the debate, we’ll keep this one short. But it’s clear that the Googlers — who largely got their way in the white spaces decision — have learned quickly how to win friends and influence people in the D.C. policy game.

According to Page, it helps to have “a bunch of M.I.T. grads who breathe radio” to interface with the FCC’s engineering staff. And according to Martin, having Google bring its resources into the policy discussion lets the FCC make better technical decisions, “and that’s been to the benefit of the public interest,” Martin said.

We’ll leave deeper cynical observations about how it may also mean campaign contributions for a potential future political career until later. For now, we’re still in amazement that Google and the FCC are hanging out, talking about how wonderful it is that wireless networks will be more open and abundant. Change we can believe in, indeed.

(Photo: Paul Kapustka, (c) Sidecut Reports)

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