Kevin Martin Agrees To Drop Filters From Free Wireless Web

from the still-doesn't-have-much-support dept

M2Z's big plan to provide wireless internet to the entire country, if the FCC would just hand over free spectrum, never made all that much sense to us. Yes, the country could have a much better broadband infrastructure, and there are some interesting possibilities in the wireless space, but simply handing over a bunch of spectrum to a single startup company with a promise to provide free wireless to most of the country just seems like a boondoggle. There's little evidence that the plan would work or that it is even necessary. So, it seemed good that the plan went down in flames earlier this month -- though, most of the criticism was focused on the pointless requirement for anti-smut filters on the free connectivity.

However, Kevin Martin is making some news today by telling everyone who will listen that he's willing to drop the filters part if he can get the rest approved. This is a little surprising from Martin, as he's been a pretty big anti-smut crusader in his role at the FCC, but perhaps he's looking to leave a legacy beyond "AT&T lackey" now that he's about to leave the FCC. It still doesn't appear that he has the support to push this through, but that could change. Still, it would be good if someone (anyone?) could explain why it makes sense to just give a single company this spectrum without any clear reason why it should get the spectrum or proof that it can provide what it wants to provide in a reasonable manner? We've seen tons of promises about broadband wireless over the years from upstarts and very few have gone anywhere. Before just handing over valuable spectrum to one provider, why not see if (a) it's actually necessary and (b) if the company in question can actually provide what it claims it will provide.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    bigpicture, Dec 30th, 2008 @ 5:57pm

    Lease Agreement?

    They could always lease the spectrum, the same as the oil company search and development leases. If it is not effectively used (developed) within a specified period of time, the lease gets revoked and sold to another developer.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Brian C, Dec 30th, 2008 @ 6:01pm

    in the sand

    of course free lifeline broadband is needed. all that stats show benefits that would results. folks who argue otherwise are ostriches with their heads in the sand. the fact that dial up still exists in this country is proof enough.

    martin's plan could be implemented by any company that shows up to bid. the big risk in this transformative idea is not whether or not the company that shows up "can" provide the service as required -- the question is whether or not the AT&Ts and T-Mobiles will get their hands on the spectrum and then put it on the shelf.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Rick, Dec 30th, 2008 @ 6:12pm

    Most?

    "a promise to provide free wireless to most of the country"?

    MOST usually means 95% of citizens, leaving out about 25% of the country who do not live in a city. This is not what we need.

    Broadband service needs to become universally available to 100% of US citizens, not MOST of them.

    If the government is going to give the citizens spectrum away, we need assurances that the priority will be to provide service to the un-served citizens FIRST.

     

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  4.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Dec 30th, 2008 @ 6:18pm

    Re: in the sand

    of course free lifeline broadband is needed. all that stats show benefits that would results

    Sure, we're all for more broadband, but the question is whether or not this is the best way to get it.

    folks who argue otherwise are ostriches with their heads in the sand.

    Folks who think this plan will magically work are apparently ignoring pretty much all history of such wireless networks. But, you know, why let facts get in the way.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Daryl, Dec 30th, 2008 @ 6:32pm

    What's the harm?

    The spectrum is currently a wasteland. Why not do something like a free service, it isn't like consumers are getting any benefit now. If our country can put people on the moon we can make this work. Isn't broadcast TV free also?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Twinrova, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 4:36am

    Follow the money.

    "could explain why it makes sense to just give a single company this spectrum without any clear reason why it should get the spectrum"
    Could it be Kevin has a stake in the startup?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 4:57am

    Re: Most?

    95% + 25% = 120%, so right off the bat your comment confuses me.

    Besides that, it's generally infeasible to require 100% coverage for much of anything. There are places in the country that don't have access to indoor plumbing, let alone cellphone coverage, let alone wireless broadband that hasn't even been set up yet. 100% would be great, but how do you want to measure that? Should I be able to get Internet Access on any random backroad in Wyoming? Or is it just OK to cover the places people generally live and work?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    gene_cavanaugh, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 8:31am

    Universal broadband

    I agree with Michael, and will also point out that if you think about it, it is unConstitutional.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 10:10am

    Re: Most?

    You are partially correct... But look at it this way. Do you really want the poorest of the poor on the internet? or would you rather they be too busy working 3 jobs to get themselves out of their hole?

    The people that do not need internet are the shit po crackheads in the projects. They need to be out looking for jobs (on foot), or working to get off the tit.

    so, NO, not everyone needs internet access. Besides, there is always the library. But how many crackheads do you see there reading books rather than using the pages as toilet paper.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Rick Can't Add, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 11:45am

    Re: Most?

    ... and regular telephone services (POTS) only covers 95% of the population. that seems like pretty high standard to reach for "most" for broadband.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    jason, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 12:06pm

    This is not up to date info.

    The current plan is for an auction of the rights to the highest bidder -- not to one company. The original proposal to grant one company the rights was dismissed well over a year ago. I think you need to do basic fact checking before you write in the future.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: Most?

    Amen brother!! About time someone spoke out against the underlying issues. Granted the projects are more myth in a lot of places, but the sentiment is still the same. In the south people are too busy surfing the internet and worrying about their ghetto music and shithead lives rather than worrying about what really matters... Getting off welfare and living on their own (as in not being paid to sit on their ass and play nintendo).

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    sudina@sudinasearch.com, Feb 21st, 2009 @ 4:56am

    sudina@sudinasearch.com

     

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