For the last four years the FCC has been kicking around the idea of a coast-to-coast free wireless service. The idea came through a proposal from M2Z Networks, who would build out the project over the next decade, and pay five percent of its annual revenue to the United States Treasury in return. But today M2Z announced that the FCC has told the company that the commission was "dropping the concept."
FCC Wireless Bureau Chief Ruth Milkman tried to explain why the commission passed on MZ2’s proposal:
"We gave careful and thorough consideration to the proposal, but ultimately determined that this was not the best policy outcome," Ruth Milkman, chief of the FCC’s Wireless Bureau told Ars Technica. "We remain vigilant in our efforts to facilitate the universal deployment and adoption of broadband, especially through the much-needed reform to the Universal Service Fund."
MZ2 CEO John Muleta fired back:
"The FCC’s decision to delay the use of this valuable spectrum forgoes the consumer welfare and economic stimulus that would result from putting new spectrum into the marketplace," Muletta declared in a reaction statement.
"A new nationwide broadband entrant that provided a free broadband service would have created tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs throughout the country," he added, "while giving all Americans an equal opportunity to participate in the digital economy. Despite the spectrum crisis facing the U.S. as documented by the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, the AWS-3 spectrum will continue to lie fallow providing no economic value to American consumers."
Well, at least the FCC has finally made a decision on it. It only took them four years.