Current Co. Eyes Wireless Spectrum

Today is the deadline for updating applications for the upcoming wireless spectrum auction, but we thought we’d dig through some more spectrum documents. One bidding team caught our eye. Telecom investor William Berkman couldn’t let Paul Allen get all the wireless action without a fight.

According to FCC filings a consortium backed by William Berkman, and the broadband over power lines company Current Communications Group that he co-founded and is Chairman, and including Current investors Goldman Sachs and TXU Utility Services, is looking to bid in the upcoming wireless spectrum in August. The group is called POP Wireless. As you might remember, Current is also backed by companies interested in wireless–Google and Earthlink.

While Google’s and Earthlink’s individual investments are not disclosed Current has raised over a hundred million in capital to build its BPL network. There was a lot of speculation over Google joining the spectrum auction–this seems as close as the company was willing to get.

While Current refused our requests for the details on their wireless plans, wireless is already being used in conjunction with broadband over powerlines by companies like Motorola and Communication Technologies Inc (ComTek). BPL runs over electrical outlets and is touted for its ease-of-access, though has few deployments to date.

Wireless could help extend those deployments. ComTek’s VP for Broadband, Walt Adams, said in a few cases the company is already powering WiFi hotspots with BPL, and that the company is planning to grow its wireless offering later this year. So if Berkman and Current buy some wireless spectrum, the company’s slow-moving BPL plans could get a real boost.

For now how the consortium plans to use any wireless spectrum in tandem with their BPL plans remains unclear. The application is officially incomplete but the company has until 6PM today to update the filing.