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Posted by on Dec 1, 2008 in At TMV | 10 comments

Free Nationwide Porn-Free Wireless Web?

Despite objections from the wireless industry and some consumer groups, the WSJ says outgoing Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin is pushing a plan to offer free, pornography-free wireless Internet service to all Americans:

The proposal to allow a no-smut, free wireless Internet service is part of a proposal to auction off a chunk of airwaves. The winning bidder would be required to set aside a quarter of the airwaves for a free Internet service. The winner could establish a paid service that would have a fast wireless Internet connection. The free service could be slower and would be required to filter out pornography and other material not suitable for children. The FCC’s proposal mirrors a plan offered by M2Z Networks Inc., a start-up backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner John Doerr.

Consumer advocates have objected to the FCC’s proposed pornography filter, while the wireless industry has objected to the entire free Internet plan. To address concerns about the filter, the FCC is proposing that adults could opt out and access all Internet sites.

Stacey Higginbotham says T-Mobile won’t be happy:

This upcoming meeting could create free, licensed wireless spectrum in the AWS-3 band, ticking off T-Mobile, which paid $4 billion to lease the adjacent AWS-1 spectrum…. Originally, the FCC had talked about filtering that free wireless network to rid it of objectionable content for everyone, but in October, when the FCC issued a report saying that such a network wouldn’t interfere with T-Mobile’s network, a spokesman for the regulatory agency said the filtering provisions would only be aimed at children. That could stop some consumer advocates from protesting the FCC actions, but it won’t stop T-Mobile, which shows no signs of backing down, even though its efforts to stop the proposal on the grounds that it will interfere with the T-Mobile network have failed.

I’ll be surprised if anything much comes of this.

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  • superdestroyer

    It would probably result in many of the local phone companies and cable companies going out of business. If they are selling something that the government is going to provide as free, their business models are not going to work. In addition, it will probably kill what remains of the for profit on-line porn business that was the original industry to make money on the internet.

  • Porn free… Global war on tits? Well, as long as my kids can still access graphic violence on the web, that will be just fine. Censorship is such a tedious problem, isn’t it?

    http://www.bohemianscientist.org/images/blog06/headexplode.jpg

  • AustinRoth

    I would rather have a spam-free wireless service. Hell, I would pay extra for that.

  • Government provided internet is probably the right move, if there are safeguards for privacy. Ha!

    The government is already in the business of libraries, tv channels, radio stations, etc. This would just remove another barrier for low-income families to getting on the web, which has become an integral part of our society.

    Let me put it another way. The government builds highways for free public use… so why shouldn’t they build information highways?

  • Rambie

    AR “I would rather have a spam-free wireless service. Hell, I would pay extra for that.”

    GD, “Well, as long as my kids can still access graphic violence on the web…”

    Agreed.

    Like SD, I think this is a terrible idea and the government would end up hurting businesses from small local ISPs to nation wide telcom & cable companies. Not to mention the poor porn industry (LOL).

    CWWW: “Let me put it another way. The government builds highways for free public use… so why shouldn’t they build information highways?”

    People can go to the local library and get on the Internet if they can’t afford it at home. If they are that poor how can they afford the computer to even surf the web? Should we give them a computer too?

  • DLS

    “Consumer advocates have objected to the FCC’s proposed pornography filter”

    * * *

    “Let me put it another way. The government builds highways for free public use… so why shouldn’t they build information highways?”

    Well, that’s cheap equivocation and I know you’re capable of better, but the actual point you’re making is valid enough — provide communication infrastructure as well as transportation infrastructure (and services, in the case of, say, air traffic control). As a matter of fact, I have long thought about this, not necessarily to support or resist the concept but in thinking that, in an ideal revisional-historical world, someone like Jefferson would like seeing a PC in the hands of everyone (especially children) while specifically, Hamilton would probably like a federal comm-net. (He’d consider it “national,” of course; he was our premier as well as early nationalist.)

  • DLS

    “Should we give them a computer too?”

    If the Messiah works his economic miracle and frees us to pursue more ambitious lefty goals, yes, this will be identified as part of the “digital divide” with the solution to it being obvious, asking your question _and_ replying forcefully in the affirmative.

  • DLS

    Also, the people actually defending porn, including government-provided porn (talk about the truly degenerate) are likely the very same ones who want to suppress not only pharmaceutical advertising but _all_ advertising. (Except favored stuff like porn, I guess.)

  • DLS

    Super D: Yes, don’t expect the private comm providers to compete very well against the government. They can probably surpass government quality but not cost given the market rigging governments can do, by definition.

    Austin R.: Spam-free is nice and please note my previous remark about advertising was about the typical activist-advocates and their likely hypocrisy here given who these folks are.

  • Austin R.: Spam-free is nice and please note my previous remark about advertising was about the typical activist-advocates and their likely hypocrisy here given who these folks are.

    +1 I totally agree with your accurate view!

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