Schmidt Talks Google’s Policy Wish List, Not Obama

19 Nov Schmidt Talks Google’s Policy Wish List, Not Obama

PC Magazine, By Chloe Albanesius, November 18, 2008
Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who was recently named to President-elect Obama’s transition economic advisory board, made a plea Tuesday for increased investment in energy, broadband, and research and development, but declined to discuss whether such initiatives have been seriously discussed by the Obama transition team. The country needs to “balance the enormous creativity of the free market with some of its unfettered successes,” Schmidt said. Schmidt appeared in Washington at an event sponsored by The New America Foundation, a D.C-based think tank where Schmidt serves as board chairman. Schmidt’s only mention of Obama was to praise his committment to increased research and development investment. But Schmidt also called on the next administration to focus on increased access to broadband. “We invented this stuff and now we’re fifteenth in the world,” he said, referring to broadband penetration statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Schmidt praised the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for doing “tremendously good work on this.” At Google’s behest, the FCC earlier this year agreed to require open standards for the c-block during its highly lucrative 700 MHz auction; spectrum that was ultimately purchased by Verizon Wireless. Last month, the FCC also approved a plan to allow access to the white spaces, or far-reaching spectrum between the digital channels that companies like Google and Microsoft want to use for mobile broadband. Those actions were “an act of remarkable courage from the standpoint of the FCC,” according to Schmidt. “We can do even more,” he said. “Spectrum is everything … we’re mobile and that spectrum is all around us. Most of it’s not being used at all. Let’s open it up.”