FCC Chairman Kevin Martin recirculated his auction proposal for a free national broadband wireless network today, removing the controversial content filtering requirement, Martin said in a conference call with reporters today.
The proposal applies to an AWS-3 network. Martin’s original plan was widely criticized by consumer advocacy groups because of the filtering requirement.
M2Z, a mobile WiMAX hopeful, is the leading supporter of the AWS-3 plan. CEO John Muleta today said that if his company wins the spectrum, then it will still work to keep illegal material from being accessible to children.
Also related to the proposed auction is a lawsuit filed by M2Z Networks last fall. Martin mentioned the suit today but did not elaborate and an FCC spokesperson declined to comment.
Oral arguments in the suit begin this Monday in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
T-Mobile, a leading opponent of the auction plan, previously said it may also file a lawsuit if the auction continues. Its claim is that AWS-3 spectrum, if implemented in the way M2Z proposes, would cause significant intereference against existing AWS-1 networks.
That claim is also supported by AT&T and a variety of other wireless companies. However the FCC said it disagrees while M2Z maintains the interference claims are an excuse because incumbent carriers fear the impact of a free nationwide network.
Martin also discussed the transition to digital television scheduled for next February. He said $7 million is put aside for outsourced call center support. The FCC’s own call center can handle more than 200,000 calls daily, but some experts predict more than 1 million calls on the day analog networks are switched off, he noted.
Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein this morning expressed concern about this. “I’m afraid the DTV transition isn’t ready for primetime yet,” he said, in a separate conferencer call this morning. The FCC’s phone bank performed poorly in a recent test, he said.
Filed Under: Industry regulations