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M2Z's Free, Wireless Broadband Killed In Advance 113

mspohr writes with a sad excerpt from Fast Company: "Despite a seemingly stout business plan, and all the financial, social, and educational benefits it would bring, the FCC's just turned down M2Z's application for a coast-to-coast free wireless broadband system. ... The FCC is known to have heard complaints about M2Z's plan from existing wireless carriers. Though M2Z's network would've operated at under 1 Mbps peak speeds — meaning it was very slow by today's standards, and probably snail-like by tomorrow's — its free pricing may well have tempted many folks away from spending cash with an established ISP. Those carriers are now reported to be pleased with the FCC's decision, though they argue it's in line with the greater National Broadband Plan. Whenever that actually gets off the ground."
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M2Z's Free, Wireless Broadband Killed In Advance

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  • by RivenAleem ( 1590553 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @09:26AM (#33488016)

    If we had 1mb free wireless internet all across the country, the impact would be huge to mobile phone providers. Lots of people would just switch to using wifi and google voice/skype or similar to make calls. 1mb is more than enough to handle a non-video call.

  • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @09:36AM (#33488084)

    The article mentions that one of the early complains against the proposed free network operation was that it can be used to watched porn.

    Well of course it can be used for that. It can also be used to plan terrorist attacks. Or even more nefarious things: people may us it to discuss whether to plant yellow or pink flowers in their garden.

    Interesting how this "but it can be used to watch porn!" argument pops up any time someone proposes a free or cheap new way to connect to the Internet.

    It makes one wonder why this is never used seriously against established operators. Why this is never used against proposals to providing cheap Internet to poor families (supplied by established ISPs of course). It couldn't be something political, or could it?

  • by Haedrian ( 1676506 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @09:38AM (#33488092)

    Why this is never used against proposals to providing cheap Internet to poor families (supplied by established ISPs of course). It couldn't be something political, or could it?

    Poor families have a tendancy to have more children. They don't need porn.

  • Watch your prefix (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gryphia ( 947956 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:12AM (#33488296)
    If they were only rolling out a 1 milibit per second connection, I doubt it would be good for much of anything. That's 56 million times slower than an old 56k modem. A 1 Mbs (megabit per second) would be better, but still slow, and a 1 MBs would be an even better. If the plan really was for a 1 mbs connection we lost nothing by having the FCC shut it down. Or maybe someone just needs to pay more attention to their prefixes.
  • The Forever Network (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:15AM (#33488308)
    Posting anonymously of course, I call (to someone who would know what they'd be doing) for an open, freely accessible network. If we can create pirate bay, we can create The Network. No more company restrictions. We create the hardware, we set up safe, intelligent systems that will self-repair for the next 10 000 years. Perhaps low-power, low-speed, but omnipresent, capable of free information sharing. A Network that will inevitably spread throughout the world as nodes upon nodes can spring up based on the simple build instructions. Organic, forever breathing, constantly evolving, improving, replicating, communicating. Free. Global. Network. Now.
  • Good riddance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:25AM (#33488744) Journal

    This wasn't a free nationwide internet plan. This was a spectrum grab with the nationwide internet plan added to sweeten the deal for the FCC.

    M2Z's trick was going to be to use a spare bit of the radio spectrum, the 2GHz "AWS-3" band, and earn itself cash by embedding ads in its free Net service as well as licensing out part of the spectrum it would then be controlling for other commercial uses.

    The second part is the key thing; they would have gotten the AWS-3 band, nationwide, for free, and then leased it back out.

  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Monday September 06, 2010 @01:19PM (#33489676)

    Well, yes, I RTFA.

    Remember MetroPCS?

    And yes, I get to judge their business plan, just like you do, like the FCC did. Is it none of my business? Then why is it yours? Hijacking a discussion because you don't like the criticism seems inane.

    From 1977 to here, I've watched loads of ostensibly interesting products fail for two simple reasons: 1) not enough 2) lack of capitalization. Do you wonder why the US falls so far behind in broadband? It's because the geography to cover it is miserable. This scheme is both underpowered, and vastly under capitalized. Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile can't adequately cover the geography, and they've spent billions and billions and billions.

    Do I like any of these carriers-- no-- they're uniformly hideous and my choice of Verizon is based on the best of the worst, IMHO. The FCC did what was prudent, bribes from the telcos aside.

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.