Technology

White House Opposes Free WiFi Plan

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I wrote about this plan recently, but today I find out that it may not happen.

Why?

Because it’s not “free market” enough.

Good times…

The FCC has been considering auctioning 25 megahertz of spectrum in the 2155MHz to 2180MHz band. As part of the rules for using the spectrum, the FCC plans to require license holders to offer some free wireless broadband service.

The FCC sees the idea, which is based on a proposal submitted to the FCC by M2Z Networks in 2006, as a way to provide broadband Internet service to millions of Americans who either can’t afford or don’t want to pay for high-speed Internet access.

However, in a letter sent to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin on Wednesday, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez expressed the administration’s opposition to the idea, which could be voted on as early as next week, according to the report.

“The administration believes that the (airwaves) should be auctioned without price or product mandate,” Gutierrez wrote, according to the Journal’s report. “The history of FCC spectrum auctions has shown that the potential for problems increases in instances where licensing is overly prescriptive or designed around unproven business models.”

An FCC representative told the newspaper that it had received Gutierrez’s letter and was reviewing it.
“We agree that market forces should help drive competition, but we also believe that providing free basic broadband to consumers is a good thing,” the representative told the Journal.

I’d urge those FCC folks to just wait another month and a half and they’ll have a much more receptive audience.