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Summary:

The County Executives of America plans to use M2Z Networks to build a nationwide wireless broadband network covering residents of its 700 members counties, and has applied for $122 million in stimulus grants to kick off the effort.

The County Executives of America plans to build a nationwide wireless broadband network to cover residents of its 700 member counties, and has applied for $122 million in stimulus grants to kick off the effort. The money would fund networks in 12 counties and would cover more than 14 million people.

The CEA hopes to let M2Z, a Kleiner Perkins-backed startup that’s been trying to build a free wireless broadband network since May 2006, build out the network using the AWS-3 band of spectrum. We explained why M2Z was a bad bet back in 2008,  but the utopian idea of free wireless broadband isn’t going away, especially since the current Federal Communications Commission Chair is so keen on mobile broadband as the great equalizer.

Here are the details on the CEA plan:

Specifically, the CEA broadband stimulus application aims to bring free broadband access to 12 major counties and serving the residents of Allegheny County, Pa.; Bronx County, N.Y.; Chambers and Kaufmann Counties, Texas; DeKalb County, Ga.; Kenosha County, Wis.; New Castle County, Del.; Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, Md.; Will and Cook Counties, Ill.; and Salt Lake City County, Utah.

But the plan submitted by the CEA offers two service options: a paid 6 Mbps offering (the application cuts off right as it says what the paid version would cost) and M2Z’s original free service with speeds of 768 kbps — what most would call barely broadband. The FCC in March suggested that it would create a free nationwide wireless broadband network, but my sources there assured me it wasn’t related to M2Z.  Looks like now M2Z is attempting to take its free wireless broadband proposal to other entities.

Image courtesy of Gavin St. Ours on Flickr.

By Stacey Higginbotham

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  1. No such thing as free.

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  2. [...] M2Z Is Back With Free Wireless Broadband Plan [...]

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  3. What spectrum could M2Z possibly use to provide this service? They are not going to get access to the AWS-3 band. While there is no reason why the tech they’ve developed shouldn’t work in other bands, I can’t imagine them getting a grant unless that have actual spectrum licenses lined up (or can explain how they will use unlicensed for this).

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  4. The FCC will never do this because they are too sold out to the incumbents! It would be too disruptive.

    Are they going to reclassify broadband under Title II? No!

    Are they going to take spectrum from the broadcasters and enable new entrants to compete with AT&T and Verizon? No!

    Are they going to prevent AT&T and Verizon from bidding on the D block? No!

    Will they tax people to pay lots of $$$ to line the pockets of incumbents to provide broadband to poor people? Yes!

    These guys are so sold out to the AT&T and Verizon and even T-mobile that nothing that will disturb the market will be allowed to pass.

    Genachowski is a bundler for Obama and only cares about being able to raise money after he leaves the FCC. He’s never going to do anything to piss off the incumbents with the big $$$ to write checks for political campaigns.

    This is what you get when you appoint fundraisers to high level positions. They are fundraisers first, and FCC chairman etc… second.

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  5. [...] the chairman and CTO of M2Z Networks, which GigaOM readers may recall as the failed effort to bring free, slow broadband to the masses. M2Z had given up on its wireless broadband dreams in September after years of [...]

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