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Appeared on: Monday, June 23, 2008
FCC Proposes Free Internet Wireless Access

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Friday said it wants to auction a section of wireless airwaves to buyers willing to provide free broadband Internet service.

The agency asked for public comment on its plan to auction an unused portion of the wireless spectrum (2.1 GHz) with the condition that the winning bidder offer free Internet access and filter out obscene content on part of those airwaves.

Successful bidders for the spectrum would also be required to provide coverage to at least half of the United States within four years, and to at least 95 percent of the U.S. population by the end of the 10-year license, the FCC said. Bidders should also offer two-way broadband Internet service at engineered data rates of at least 768 kbps downstream.

"Additional obligations associated with the licensee's free broadband service would include a requirement to provide a network-based filtering mechanism for the free Internet service in order to protect children and families, and a requirement that the network allow for the use of open devices," the agency said in the proposal posted on its website at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-283120A1.doc.


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