Yet Less Spectrum

m2z.jpg Not being content with squelching competition in the 700Mhz auction:
The Federal Communications Commission is seeking to shut the door on a plan by a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to offer free wireless broadband Internet service everywhere in the U.S., the chief executive of the group said Wednesday.

M2Z Networks Inc. issued a statement Wednesday in which it said it would take the FCC to court in an attempt to force the agency to conduct a thorough analysis of the plan before it determined whether it would back it or not.

The company has proposed taking 25 megahertz of spectrum that is currently vacant and using it to build a wireless broadband Internet network to provide free service to 95% of Americans within a decade.

UPDATE: FCC Opposes Silicon Valley VCs’ Free-Broadband Plan, (Updates with comment from Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Cal., in the fifth paragraph.) By Corey Boles, Dow Jones, August 15, 2007: 05:14 PM EST

Why would the FCC object to that?

Could it have to do with who’s backing it?

In addition to the backing of well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalists who count among their earlier investments Inc. (AMZN), Netscape, Google Inc. (GOOG), social networking site MySpace and TiVO Inc. (TIVO), the plan has the backing of a number of prominent lawmakers.

“Every American should have access to high-speed broadband Internet service,” said Eshoo in a statement. “It’s beyond me why the chairman of the FCC would be circulating an order within the Commission to kill the M2Z application.”

According to John Muleta, a former head of the FCC’s wireless bureau and now chief executive of M2Z, the group was informed last week by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s office that he had circulated a plan with the other four commissioners to deny M2Z’s plan.

Well, this would be the same Kevin Martin who proposed the rules the FCC approved in the 700Mhz auction, and then made a big show of getting them approved by the commission, meanwhile withholding the details until later; the details with all sorts of devils in them. I can imagine why: because his administration doesn’t want any competition for the existing duopoly.

You might imagine that Martin, who’s spent quite a bit of time “free from obscenity”, but apparently he has even higher priorities.

Yet competition is what the public, the economy, the country, and the world need in Internet access. It would be nice if the FCC and FTC would provide effective regulation for effective market competition, but it’s become obvious they won’t, because they’ve been told not to. Perhaps the public needs to find them new management.