Free Broadband Could Be Part of Feds' Auction Plan

FCC head considers plan that could have 95% of US covered in 10 years
By Laila Weir,  Newser User
Posted May 29, 2008 3:47 PM CDT
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin, left, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 1, 2007.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – The Federal Communication Commission wants you to have free Internet, the Wall Street Journal reports, and it's considering a plan to auction airwaves with the requirement that the winner offer Wi-fi free to most of the US. The free access would come with its own strings for users, though, in the form of content restrictions blocking porn and obscene materials.

There may not be willing buyers for the restricted airwaves, however: Big companies already have big chunks of spectrum, and start-ups may lack the necessary cash. The FCC’s last attempt to auction airwaves with conditions didn’t work out, when it couldn’t find a buyer earlier this year for spectrum to be shared with emergency workers.