Today the White House has announced it’s strong opposition to the FCC’s recommended free wireless internet plan. The current administration officials are trying to put the brakes on the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to encourage a free, national wireless Internet plan. The FCC could approve the plan as quickly as next week. Outgoing FCC Chairman Kevin Martin hopes to win approval for his plan next week, at one of the last FCC meetings he will chair.
The idea of this plan is that a section of airwaves will be auctioned off with the agreement that a portion of those waves then be made available as free internet access to the whole country. A “smut filter” would be part of this open door to limit the porn, etc for users under 18.
So who doesn’t like it…. hmmmm… let’s start with the obvious… the business guys who make a bundle off selling airwaves now. How could free access help them make more? Who’s going to buy if they are giving it away? However, the free service would be slower than many people’s current hi-speed connections, yet faster than what is now “old school” dial up. Of course the winning bid will be allowed the option to up sell you to a faster service.
The other non-believers in this free access are the civil rights fighters who believe that any sort of filter (be it for smut or other such stuff), should not be limited or controlled by the government.
The supporters of this idea are those who want all peoples of the country to have access to the internet. “We agree that market forces should help drive competition but we also believe that providing free basic broadband to consumers is a good thing,” said Robert Kenny, an FCC spokesman.
As another example of the changing views going on in Washington, President-elect Barack Obama has also raised concerns about the U.S. falling behind other developed nations in broadband availability. On Saturday he said that he planned to include broadband build-out as part of his economic stimulus plan. It is yet to be seen if this build-out will be inclusive of the recommended Free Wireless Plan, but it does leave the area open for something similar to occur.