FCC Accepting Public Comments on Proposed Broadband Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Communications Commission on Friday began accepting public comment on Chair Kevin Martin's plan to auction off a 25 MHz piece of spectrum in the 2,155 MHz band.

The winner of the proposed auction would be required to provide public access to free wireless broadband services that would be void of pornographic material.

The FCC was originally scheduled to vote on the plan last week, but Martin said he decided to postpone the vote until the commission meets in July in an effort to give commissioners more time to consider the proposal.

Free speech advocates have criticized the plan based on concerns of possible interferences and a censoring feature.

The comment period will last 14 days, followed by a seven-day response period.

The proposal is not, however, the first of its kind. Several years ago, M2Z Networks offered to give 5 percent is its annual revenue to the U.S. Treasury in exchange for a piece of the spectrum to be included in the auction. Several telecommunications companies voiced strong opposition, however, and the matter essentially died on the table.

Under the latest plan, which is strongly backed by Martin, the auction winner must provide a feature that "filters or blocks images and text that constitute obscenity or pornography and, in context, as measured by contemporary community standards and existing law, any images or text that otherwise would be harmful to teens and adolescents."