Adding Porn Won't Make AWS-3 Plan Any Better

logo11FCC chairman Kevin Martin said in a conference call today that he’s dropped the porn-free requirement from his plan to auction off AWS-3 spectrum in order to create a free wireless broadband network. This last-minute effort to get universal wireless broadband passed on his watch is heroic, but I’m still not sold on the use of this spectrum for slow, free wireless broadband.

The incumbents have fought the FCC proposal, and a similar one offered by M2Z Networks, for years. Thanks to provisions that called for the network to filter out adult content, consumer groups and pro-universal broadband guys thought the plan was a dud as well. The proposal calls for two tiers of broadband, with one network offering free service at speeds of 768 kbps, and another, subscription network to offer speeds of 1.5 Mbps 3 Mbps for $20-$30 per month.

Even without the filter, the plan to use the spectrum to offer free wireless broadband at 768 kbps is akin to offering the have-nots a cracker, while the haves get to upgrade from eating hamburgers to steak. Sure the cracker is free, but the rest of the country is paying $45-$60 a month for 3G services that offer up to 1 Mbps. And in the next four years, while M2Z is building its free network, 3G subscribers will have access to faster WiMAX services or possibly even LTE at 20 Mbps. Maybe a little nudity on the side makes the cracker a bit more appetizing, but it’s still too little, too late, for this plan.

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