CellCos to Martin: Sit Down and Shut Up



We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. — Network

The FCC was going to consider auctioning off 25 megahertz at 2155-2180 MHz at its next meeting on June 12 (pdf). The proposal would offer free Internet access across the United States, to the highest bidder. The FCC developed the plan based on proposals from several companies including M2Z Networks, Commnet Wireless, NextWave Broadband and others.

But the FCC’s main “constituents” — the big cellular carriers — have laid down the law. Martin has now removed the proposal from his agenda to “look into concerns raised by some wireless carriers.”

The CTIA wrote in it’s filing (pdf):


“The proposal upends two decades of spectrum policy in favor of a specially tailored auction designed to advance the particular business model of a single company. Moreover, this business plan — including free broadband — has a track record of failure.”

“The chairman remains committed to advancing a proposal that will provide a broadband lifeline for Americans who currently do not have Internet access on what would be a portion of the band that would provide that service for free,” said an FCC spokesman. Martin insists the delay is to give “people a little more time to consider this,” and that he’s “still anxious” for the FCC to go forward with the auction.

The FCC first sought comment on its proposal last September and since then many companies have filed their opinions on the idea. Existing operators are typically opposed to the idea since it means that their services would have to compete with a free offering.

Why not a free triple play? Like Freeview in the UK.

Television broadcasters are given our airwaves. Free. Like a Communist State.

The unlicensed Wi-Fi band also generates no revenue for The Treasury. But now Intel, the largest proponent of universal broadband, also has some skin in the game. That could make a strong consumer-oriented lobby for “free” broadband access less likely.

Perhaps the FCC ought to level the playing field and auction off television spectrum to broadcasters. Incumbent broadcasters might be grandfathered in for 5 years.

The UK’s Freeview service uses a $99 DVB-T settop and delivers more than 20 digital tv channels, 30 radio stations as well as other services — over the air — FREE.

That’s the free market. We don’t have it.

Related DailyWireless stories include; FCC: Free Broadband at 2155-2180 MHz, MXtv Makes Its Move, Free 2155-2175 MHz!, The Free Triple Play, How to Fix Muni Wi-Fi, Wavion Beamforms Backhaul, San Jose International: Free Wi-Fi, Bill to Free 2155-2180 Mhz, M2Z Vrs FCC, Freesat: Free Satellite HD in UK, Freeview Goes HD, UK: Free For All, BSkyB: Free Broadband, Murdoch to Offer Free Broadband?, Equal Access Happy Talk, Broadband Wireless — Hello Goodbye, Frontline: Rumble in the Jungle, The OTHER Public Safety Band, Public Service Moves to 800Mhz, FCC Hangs Up Free M2Z Service, 2.1GHz for MuniFi?, and M2Z: Free Internet Now!, Pipeline Wireless: We’re 3.65 GHz, FCC: Go For 3.65GHz, Airspan, Free 3.65GHz Mapping Service, Who the MuniFi MAN?, WiMAX: No Satellite Interference says WARC, Intel’s Rural Connectivity Platform, Airspan Gets FCC Nod for 3.65 GHz, Pipeline Wireless: We’re 3.65 GHz, FCC: Go For 3.65GHz, Airspan, Free 3.65GHz Mapping Service, Who the MuniFi MAN?, WiMAX: No Satellite Interference says WARC, Intel’s Rural Connectivity Platform, Airspan Gets FCC Nod for 3.65 GHz, 3.65 GHz Gets Real, FCC: Non-exclusive 3.6GHz Licensing and 3.65 GHz Gets Real.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

One thought on “CellCos to Martin: Sit Down and Shut Up

  1. 2155-2180 MHz free or not will not address the market areas (geographies) that need to be covered if the FCC wants to deliver a true Nationwide Broadband wireless service net.
    Rural markets are where the lack of Broadband services is apparent and the new WiMAX networks based on 2.5Ghz operates nicely in Urban canyons but will struggle not operate effectively (mobile) in these rural market due to the foliage issues.
    Point to Point Fixed services are nice where one has Line of Site but trees and other heavy foliage issues will limit this coverage in these 2.0Ghz and above spectrums.
    What is needed is the White Space spectrum (400Mhz and below) that will allow for serious Broadband Wireless Links in all markets.

    Jim (aka Jacomo)

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