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[ARS] Lawmaker calls for no-cost, porn-free, wireless 'Net access

post #1 of 16
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By Ryan Paul | Published: April 21, 2008 - 10:25AM CT

Quote:
The Wireless Internet Nationwide for Families Act, proposed by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), would instruct the FCC to auction off the 2155-2175MHz band of spectrum. The winner would have to use the spectrum to create a nationwide wireless Internet service that is available to the public at no cost, automatically blocks access to pornographic content, and is fully open to third-party device manufacturers.

The proposal was a response to the recent spectrum auction, which saw AT&T and Verizon, the two biggest mobile carriers, walk away with big chunks of the newly-opened airwaves. The aim of the new proposal is to encourage another player to enter the market so that consumers can have a viable third choice to cable and DSL.

"The cost of broadband service is a barrier for too many families who want broadband, with more than 100 million Americans without broadband at home," Eshoo said in a statement. "The results of the 700MHz auction disappointed many of us who hoped that a new entrant would emerge. 70 percent of the spectrum auctioned went to only two carriers. While the auction required under this legislation is open to anyone, it is my hope that the bold conditions of requiring free, family friendly service will encourage the entry of a new kind of national broadband service provider."

During the 700MHz auction, bidders failed to meet the reserve price for the D Block, partly because the FCC stipulated that the D Block owner would have to develop a public safety network. If the public safety network requirement was considered too onerous by prospective bidders, it seems unlikely that the requirements described by the Wireless Internet Nationwide for Families Act would be much more palatable to most mobile carriers.

But there is one company that has been calling for an auction on precisely these terms. California-based M2Z networks says that it wants to roll out a free, family-friendly wireless Internet offering supported by geographically-sensitive advertising, and it claims that it has the financial backing to get the job done.

M2Z approached the FCC with its plan in 2006 (the initial proposal was later turned down), which prompted the FCC to begin evaluating potential rules for auctioning off the relevant chunk of spectrum. In a fact sheet (PDF) which provides some additional details about the proposal, M2Z claims that two independent economic studies have found that the availability of such a service would save consumers between $18 billion and $32.4 billion and make Internet access available to millions of Americans who currently can't afford it.

The narrow terms of Eshoo's bill makes it a clear endorsement of M2Z's proposal. Although the bidding would be open to anyone, it is unlikely that others besides M2Z would participate in the auction. This has rattled the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), which opposes M2Z's plan and argues that the public is best served by an open auction with less stringent conditions.

M2Z is optimistic that it can build out the infrastructure that it envisions and profit from offering faster service (up to 3Mbps) on the network for a price while offering free access at a base speed of 384Kbps. Free service and more competition would definitely improve conditions for mobile Internet consumers, but the entire plan seems vaguely quixotic, especially in light of the FCC's interest in auctioning the D Block again.
[SOURCE]

Sounds great in theory, who doesn't want free internet??? But without pron can it still be considered the "internet"?
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post #2 of 16
It's going to fail..... how do you define indecent material again?

"But I know it when I see it"
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post #3 of 16
The "Great Firewall of America." Bad idea, how do you know you aren't filtering legit content?
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post #4 of 16
Nice idea I guess but how on in the hell can you filter to that mass ?
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post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bartender Paradox View Post
The "Great Firewall of America." Bad idea, how do you know you aren't filtering legit content?
Exactly... any kind of filtering is going to cause liability, management, and security issues while being ineffective. Look at China as example. Their block site is more inclusive, have a massive infrastructure to support the Great Firewall, and no legal means for users to complain.... yet, it is still by-passable.


Quote:
The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.
-+John Gilmore
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post #6 of 16
A subsidized internet access program? Sounds like a bad idea both philosophically and practically..

If anyone will do worse than notorious ISPs it's the government.
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post #7 of 16
From my understanding, this was supposed to be the purpose of auctioning off the 700Mhz spectrum in the first place...low cost or free internet service with wide availability. I knew it wouldn't work then, and I know this won't work now.

If they do auction this block with these stipulations, whoever buys it will either give up after a short time when they realize it is costing them too much, or the service will become so riddled with ads no one will want to use it. Look at what happened to the "free" dial up ISPs...they lasted maybe a year at the most before they either started charging (NetZero), or shut down.
 
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post #8 of 16
Uh, doesn't porn make up like 95% of internet?
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post #9 of 16
The internet is for porn.

Other Thoughts: Can't wait to see if this fails.
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post #10 of 16
When I first read the title, I thought it said Lawmaker calls for no-cost-porn! Oh...look in the addy bar! That IS what it says! LOL!!
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