The FCC’s chairman Kevin Martin has decided that they should auction off part of the 25 megahertz spectrum with the provision that the winner should provide free Internet access.
Don’t get too excited yet, the FCC’s commissioners have to vote on it at their next meeting on June 13.
It appears companies are willing to try the ad-supported Internet model again. From Wired’s Epicenter blog:
“We’ve been pushing for [free internet access] as a matter of policy for two years,” says John Muleta, founder and CEO of M2Z Networks, a company that aims to provide free ad-supported broadband access.
So is Muleta talking to Google, Yahoo or Microsoft about a partnership for the free access?
“We’re a Silicon Valley company and we’re always talking to potential partners,” Muleta says.
I do wonder if Google is going to get involved in another spectrum auction. I hope the last one didn’t take to much out of them. The open-access provisions that Google proposed for the last auction would be great to have applied here, but it’s not clear that the FCC will do that without pressure. Requiring the winner to allow any device and service over their airwaves in addition to free access is going to make this spectrum even less attractive.