Uncommon Wisdom

Mar 11 2010   1:49PM GMT

FCC leak on assigning spectrum for free wireless — get serious

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

Yet another leaked element of the FCC’s national broadband plan is even more sure to draw ire because it’s been proposed before. The FCC said that it would recommend assigning spectrum for a low-cost or free wireless service.

A plan to provide free broadband, sponsored by advertisements, has floated around in wireline and wireless, and even as an element in municipal broadband. None of these approaches has been successful, either because the idea was resisted too much or because it was tried and failed.

Ad sponsorship is politically attractive, but we’ve pointed out many times that the global adspend  can’t sponsor every communications experience. It represents about a sixth of total telecom spending and far less than would be required to even cover TCO on infrastructure.

Here again we have a sensational rather than practical response from the FCC, and every one of these makes it harder to believe the national broadband plan will even be taken seriously.

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