Have we seen the last of M2Z?

Lynnette LunaYou have to hand it to M2Z. It put up a good fight for the last four years to push the FCC to accept its proposal to build a national wireless broadband network to deliver ad-sponsored Internet access to citizens in exchange for the free use of spectrum in the 2155 MHz to 2175 MHz band.

Last Friday, the FCC notified M2Z that it would not support the plan. There is a long and twisted history with this. Ever since M2Z proposed the plan in 2006, it has faced stiff opposition. In late 2007, the FCC rejected M2Z's request but then turned around and sought comment on a similar proposal that required an auction. Potential interference with T-Mobile were in many of the headlines in 2007 as well as the fact that operators didn't want a free offering in their domain.

M2Z wanted to play in an auction as the company indicated it had financial backing to do so. But the Obama administration took over the FCC in 2008 before former FCC Commission Kevin Martin and the rest of the FCC could move forward with such a plan in the name of more broadband access across the country.

The current FCC is now embarking on a massive National Broadband Plan undertaking, which includes scraping up all available to spectrum to address the notion that much of the broadband traffic will shift to wireless. Giving spectrum to M2Z doesn't really fit with that plan.

We gave careful and thorough consideration to the proposal, but ultimately determined that this was not the best policy outcome," Ruth Milkman, chief of the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, said in a statement. "We remain vigilant in our efforts to facilitate the universal deployment and adoption of broadband, especially through the much-needed reform to the universal service fund."

M2Z issued a statement this week, pointing out what it calls broad support for the plan. It indicated more than 50,000 people had signed a petition and 20,000 people sent letters and emails to the FCC in support of the plan. In addition, 300 local, state and federal officials from all 50 states wrote to the FCC in support of the proposed rules, M2Z said.

I don't think we've seen the last of M2Z.--Lynnette

P.S. FierceBroadbandWireless will be observing the Labor Day holiday Monday but will be back in your in-box Tuesday morning.

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