FCC Chairman looking to kill "free internet" plan?

Joshua Topolsky
J. Topolsky|08.16.07

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FCC Chairman looking to kill "free internet" plan?
If you've got concerns about not getting your fair shake on the new 700MHz spectrum, don't worry, because a group known as M2Z (backed by Google, Amazon, Netscape, MySpace, and TiVO) has got you covered. The gang is looking for the FCC to break off 25MHz of the new spectrum to set up a "free" wireless internet stream for nearly 95 percent of Americans to go surfing on. There's only one problem: the FCC doesn't look like it's going to give it up. AIn a recent request to the federal agency, M2Z asks to be given bandwidth on the soon-to-be-abandoned airwaves, instead of following typical FCC procedure which requires an auction to be held. In the M2Z plan, the U.S. Treasury would get 5 percent kickbacks from any gross revenue the network derived, though it appears FCC chairman Kevin Martin is looking to put a kibosh on the plot. According to the Wall Street Journal, Martin has circulated a document to other FCC commissioners calling for them to decline the group's proposal, and the CTIA (the wireless industry's lobby group), meanwhile, has urged the agency to "dismiss or deny M2Z's application," on the grounds that it would circumvent standard procedure. You can expect some serious back-and-forth over this in the upcoming days, so you'd better get used to the 700MHz soap-opera.
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