FCC Delays Vote on Porn-Free Internet Plan
Vote postponed to give commissioners more time to consider proposal.
Posted Jun 06th, 2008 11:20 AM by Sherri L. Shaulis
The Federal Communications Commission has postponed its vote on a proposed auction of a 25 MHz piece of spectrum in the 2,155 MHz band.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin told the Associated Press said he plans to present the plan - which raised concerns from free speech advocates about possible interferences and a censoring feature - to the full commission in July.
Martin said he decided not to put the issue on the June agenda to give commissioners more time to consider the proposal.
If commissioners approve the plan at the July meeting, the auction could take place by the end of the year.
The auction's winning bidder will be required to offer some free wireless Internet access in the U.S.
"I want to be clear that I am still very supportive of the cause of providing a lifeline broadband service across the country," Martin said.
There is a catch for carriers: They will be required to offer the free wireless Internet without perceived obscene or adult content.
The concept was envisioned by wireless startup M2Z Networks of Menlo Park, Calif. The company asked the FCC to let it use the same frequencies in the current plan so it could offer a free nationwide broadband service.
In exchange, the company would pay the federal government a percentage of revenue from sales generated by advertising on the resulting network.
The FCC rejected the proposal and instead proposed the auction.
Reed Lee, a member of the boards of the Free Speech Coalition and the First Amendment Lawyer's Association, previously told AVN Online that he opposes the proposal because of its filtering requirement.
"One major problem I have with the proposal is that it promotes - indeed, requires - channel filtering, the worst kind of all," he said. "From the point of view of a free-expression enthusiast, one of the greatest things about the Internet - so far - is that it makes channel filtering impossible as a practical matter. I would oppose anything which encourages channel controllers to do it, either by changing the Internet or by researching ways to do it as is."