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FCC's Free Wireless Broadband Plan Now Unfiltered to Protect Free Speech and Pornographers

Published on December 30, 2008
by John Paczkowski

Tenacious guy, that Kevin Martin. The December meeting at which the Federal Communications Commission was to vote on his free wireless broadband plan has been canceled. And the plan itself is, by his own admission, dead in the water; yet the FCC chairman continues to push it forward. Centered around another major spectrum auction, the plan as originally conceived would have required the winning bidders to offer free Internet access to 95 percent of the country. With a caveat. That access was to be filtered “to protect children and families.” It was to be free and porn-free as well. Civil rights advocates didn’t much care for the idea, arguing that government-mandated filters would violate the First Amendment. And so the vote was canceled.

Now Martin has circled back with a new version of his wireless broadband plan, one free of the content-filtering requirements that had made it so controversial. “[If filtering] is a problem for people, let’s take it away,” Martin told Ars Technica. “A lot of public interest advocates have said they would support this, but [they were] concerned about the filter. Well, now there’s an item in front of the Commissioners and it no longer has the filter. And I’ve already voted for it without the filter now. So it’s already got one vote.”

If Martin can muster more support for this revised plan, it could be put up for a vote as early as Jan. 15.

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URL: http://allthingsd.com/20081230/fcc-chairman-adds-porn-to-wireless-broadband-plan/