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 FCC plan for free broadband but porn free



5th December
2008
  

Update: Free Porn Free Wireless Broadband...

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FCC near to auctioning off spectrum with onerous restrictions

FCC logoThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is apparently ready to vote on a proposal that could conceivably bring free nationwide wireless broadband service to U.S. consumers.

According to a report in USA Today, the FCC, at its Dec. 18 meeting, will vote on whether to auction off a portion of unused spectrum called Advanced Wireless Service-3 (AWS-3) to the highest bidder.

But there are plenty of strings attached to the auction, which is expected to be held in early 2009. For example, the FCC will reportedly require the winner of the AWS-3 auction to devote 25% of the bandwidth to free wireless nationwide broadband with a downstream speed of 768 Kbps.

Predictably, carriers and service providers aren't happy about this, even though they'll be able to use the remaining 75% to sell faster, commercial services.

Clearly, it's the 'free' part of the equation that's keeping C-level service provider executives awake at night. But another thorny issue is the FCC requirement that the winner will have to keep the free wireless service free of pornography and illegal content, a stipulation that has added complex socio-political issues to the technological issues posited by the carriers.

 

15th December
2008
  

Update: Free Porn Free Wireless Broadband Delayed...


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Protests cause FCC to reconsider

FCC logoThe US plan to institute a free Internet service has been a bumpy road. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed a plan to auction off the existing air waves that would become available as many stations plan on switching to digital.

The FCC have now cancelled an upcoming meeting where it planned to vote on the controversial free Internet service.

The FCC planned to auction off 25 megahertz of wireless spectrum in the 2155MHz to 2180MHz band. In exchange for auctioning off this spectrum, the commission came up with the condition that the license holders must offer a certain portion of the usage for free wireless broadband service.

However the plan has been met with much opposition from politicians, wireless providers and even civil rights activists. The FCC requires the license holders to provide a filter for pornography and materials not suitable for children. Civil rights groups are up in arms because this would mean that the government would be capable of censoring information. These feelings undoubtedly stem from observing other countries like China where a super filter is in place to prevent certain information from reaching its citizens.

The House Committee of Energy and Commerce recently accused FCC Chairman Kevin Martin of mismanagement and abusing his powers. A detailed report was released this past Tuesday, alleging that Martin withheld information from Congress about a mismanaged program.

In light of all the protests and accusations, Senator John Rockefeller and Rep. Henry Waxman  sent a letter to Martian asking him not to make any decisions or actions regarding controversial proposals. That same day, the FCC announced that it would be cancelling the upcoming meeting to vote of the free Internet service.

 

31st December
2008
  

Update: Freer Free Broadband...


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Adult content filtering dropped from US free broadband proposal

FCC logoKevin Martin, the Chair of the Federal Communications Commission has revised his proposal to roll out a free (and adult content-free) wireless broadband service. In an effort to corral more votes, Martin has already circulated a new version of the plan, one that removes the controversial filtering requirement.

Why the change? I'm saying if this is a problem for people, let's take it away, Martin said: A lot of public interest advocates have said they would support this, but we're concerned about the filter. Well, now there's an item in front of the Commissioners and it no longer has the filter. And I've already voted for it without the filter now. So it's already got one vote.

The FCC's outgoing boss has been championing a proposal to auction off a hefty chunk of the Advanced Wireless Services 3 band (2155-2180MHz) for a free service that (until now) was to come complete with adult content filtering.

The license winner would be required to offer the service at a minimum 768Kpbs; it's obviously not the fastest rate in town, but it meets the FCC's new and improved definition of "basic" broadband. The provider will have to honor a Carterfone-style rule that allows any application or device to connect to the network, and the license will last for ten years, with ten-year renewal periods. The licensee must roll out coverage to half of the US population within four years and reach 95% of the country by the end of the first decade.