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FCC Clears Free Wireless Web Auction

Free wireless Internet plan moves ahead.

"The analysis shows that an [advanced wireless service]-1 and AWS-3 device operating in close proximity does not necessarily result in interference," according to the FCC report. "And when factoring in actual operation under nonstatic conditions, the situation only improves."

It has been almost two years since M2Z Networks floated a plan to offer free wireless Internet service nationwide. M2Z would have provided free nationwide broadband on a 25MHz portion of unused spectrum in the 2GHz band. M2Z was angling to get the spectrum for free and then fork over 5 percent of the company's revenue. However, the FCC was unimpressed by the proposal's speeds and feeds: The free access would be 384-kbps and content-filtered (i.e., no pornography). The company planned to offer a $20 to $30 3-Mbps tier to 95 percent of the country within 10 years.

Friday's report cleared the way for the FCC to auction off airwaves; the auction is likely to begin in early to mid-2009.

Accelerating broadband access and use could be a welcome economic stimulus, according to a report released earlier this year by the national nonprofit organization Connected Nation. The report details the potential state-by-state impact of legislation to accelerate broadband access and use. Its findings suggest that the U.S. could realize $134 billion annually from a modest increase in broadband adoption.

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