M2Z Networks Proposes Porn-Free Wireless Broadband to Feds
Wireless broadband service free of adult content and charges
Posted Jul 06th, 2007 00:00 AM by Justin Bourne
MENLO PARK, Calif. - M2Z Networks Inc.
is pitching a wireless broadband service free of adult content as well as charges to federal regulators. Among the supporters are Utah's Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and Republican Rep. Chris Cannon, as well as several other members of Congress and child-protection advocates."It's really about a protected environment where things can happen and you feel comfortable and part of the value you pay for is that safe environment," said M2Z Chief Executive Officer John Muleta, previously a top wireless regulator at the Federal Communications Commission. "In the broadband space, you just effectively don't have that."Customers would need to purchase wireless modem technology at approximately $250 a unit in order to pick up Internet signals bounced from cellular towers. Customers will have the option to filter out adult content or pay a monthly fee for a premium service that includes adult material at speeds similar to a cable modem. M2Z anticipates making money on the premium subscriptions as well as charging for ads.First Amendment issues have surfaced, considering that a government-funded, filtered Internet service could come across as government-imposed censorship. With M2Z asking the FCC for a government sanction of its filtering, the proposal moves into an uncertain area.Attorney Larry Walters told AVNOnline.com, "If that's the case and if the government allocates a specific portion of the broadband spectrum — and issues a license — for this specific purpose, there could well be constitutional concerns. Essentially, this would be the same as the government licensing a television station with the specific agreement that they would broadcast no Christian content or no Muslim content or no information about Democrats. This is a content-based condition on speech, which should be invalidated by the courts. "On the other hand, we now have a Supreme Court that is substantially more conservative — even with First Amendment issues, as we saw with the recent 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' case," Walters continued. "So, it may be that these borderline issues will come out in favor of the government, given the current makeup of the high court. If that is the result, free expression is in trouble, because all the government would have to do is to condition future media licensure on the exclusion of certain categories of speech, to effectuate a censorship agenda."M2Z also is facing a major obstacle in getting the FCC to endorse the company's request for obtaining a section of broadband spectrum.Wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon vehemently have opposed the request in light of recent auction-spectrum space netting nearly $14 billion.Attorneys for Verizon stated in court filings, "The spectrum sought by M2Z must be auctioned and cannot simply be licensed to one entity for free."The spectrum M2Z is looking to employ has been idle for years with no interest from other companies. M2Z also would provide a public service by providing free broadband to underprivileged and rural areas that currently don't have access and by providing free services to emergency personnel, saving local and federal governments tens of billions of dollars. It also would pay to the federal government 5 percent of its premium-service sales.
The Media Access Project has expressed concerns, pointing out that M2Z's service is slow by today's broadband standards, and it potentially could take 10 years to build the network. These things aside, the group says the proposal remains attractive.