FCC Director’s Plan for Free Access Gets Hammered

One of the problems encountered, when you go from one bad decision to another, is that once a good idea comes around, it is likely to be dismissed out of hand.

It appears that this is what has happened with the FCC chairman, and his plan to have slow, tightly controlled, but free access to the internet. The Bush administration, ‘free marketeers’ to the end, are slapping down this idea, as ‘43’ seems to be trying to get his last licks in before the changeover next month. The plan seems to be that if a bunch of things are screwed up before the transition, the President-elect will only be able to take care of the highest priority ones, so that a few will get to stay in force by default.

Mr. Martin has not had many good ideas, so it’s sad that this one attempt at doing good appears to be circling the drain.

from ZDNet

Bad week for FCC chairman Kevin Martin. First he has to suffer through a 110-page litany of his management failures and now, the Wall Street Journal reports, the White House is hard-set against his plan for free Internet.

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez sent this letter to Martin Wednesday:

The administration believes that the (airwaves) should be auctioned without price or product mandate. The history of FCC spectrum auctions has shown that the potential for problems increases in instances where licensing is overly prescriptive or designed around unproven business models.

Free market, anyone?

Martin is planning a vote on the scheme for free if slow Internet, coupled with porn barriers. Vendors would have to offer the free service and would get to offer faster, for-pay service as part of the deal.

Martin says the plan could result in a new competitor in the wireless broadband market and could help solve broad concerns about the lack of affordable high-speed Internet service across the U.S. The free wireless Internet plan is one of several proposals Mr. Martin has championed in the past year to encourage the spread of high-speed Internet service.

“We’re reviewing the letter and it seems very similar to what (the Commerce Department) had put forth recently. We agree that market forces should help drive competition but we also believe that providing free basic broadband to consumers is a good thing,” said Robert Kenny, an FCC spokesman.

From what the President-elect has said about access, this should undoubtedly be one of the first things to reverse once January 20 rolls around.

Rembrandt painted 700 pictures. Of these, 3,000 are still in existence.Wilhelm Bode