FCC mulls free wireless internet proposal

James Middleton

May 30, 2008

1 Min Read
FCC mulls free wireless internet proposal

When US regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) convenes on June 12, one of the items on the agenda will be the fate of a swathe of spectrum in the 2155MHz to 2175MHz band.

One of the options under consideration is to auction the spectrum off, along with a requirement that some portion of the bandwidth is set aside to provide free wireless internet access to the US.

Speculators suggest that the winner of the auction would be required to build out a network to provide free access to 50 per cent of the US population within four years and 95 per cent in ten years.

The spectrum would likely be offered as a technology neutral investment and WiMAX is being bandied around as a likely platform.

However, it hasn’t escaped notice that most US providers who wanted spectrum recently spent their war chests on 700MHz frequencies, meaning a potential lack of interest in 25MHz of 2155MHz bandwidth.

On the other hand, WiMAX friendly M2Z Networks, which filed an application to lease this exact same swathe of spectrum in 2006, with the intention of providing free internet access, is still interested.

“America’s broadband Internet deployment goals are going unmet and America’s international position is rapidly falling. Many American families, schools and libraries cannot afford broadband and most of rural America cannot even get access to the broadband Internet,” said the firm. “M2Z seeks to put America back on the right track with our mission to provide free, fast, and family-friendly wireless broadband Internet connectivity to at least 95% of the US population.”

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

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