M2Z’s Free, Wireless Nationwide Broadband Plan Killed: Thank the FCC

M2Z Networks

Despite a seemingly stout business plan, and all the financial, social, and educational benefits it would bring, the FCC’s just turned down M2Z’s application for a coast-to-coast free wireless broadband system.

The FCC did not elaborate on why it turned down a plan from a new company called M2Z which would’ve created a U.S.-wide, free wireless broadband network. M2Z’s trick was going to be to use a spare bit of the radio spectrum, the 2GHz “AWS-3” band, and earn itself cash by embedding ads in its free Net service as well as licensing out part of the spectrum it would then be controlling for other commercial uses. The entire nationwide system could’ve been up and running inside 10 years, and 5% of M2Z’s revenues would’ve gone straight to the Treasury.

Ignoring all the potential commercial benefits, educational uses, opportunities for new businesses to spring up that utilized the free network, and all sorts of enterprising stuff that isn’t even dreamed up yet, the FCC has finally ceased its deliberations, and has completely denied M2Z’s application. Early on, the plan ran afoul of puritanical concerns about how it could be used for viewing pornography–but the FCC’s intention to filter porn ran into opposition with civil liberties groups.

The FCC is known to have heard complaints about M2Z’s plan from existing wireless carriers. Though M2Z’s network would’ve operated at under 1 mbs peak speeds–meaning it was very slow by today’s standards, and probably snail-like by tomorrow’s–its free pricing may well have tempted many folks away from spending cash with an established ISP. Those carriers are now reported to be pleased with the FCC’s decision, though they argue it’s in line with the greater National Broadband Plan. Whenever that actually gets off the ground.

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