Lawmakers Threaten Free Internet Plan

Will private greed once again trump the public good under the Bush Administration? It sure will if some  Republicans get their way over the FCC's proposal to auction a section of spectrum in return for a commitment by the winner to provide free Internet access on a portion of it.

Seems a simple enough concept, but of course it won'y fly with the "free-marketers" who love excess profit and unbridled greed for their big-business political constituents. Opposition has been raised by two Good Ol' Boy Republican Congressmen who fear the government will get less for the spectrum if it actually stipulates that the winner provide a free-access network. No doubt this plan is also drawing fire from large corporate telco and cable ISPs who rue any new competition.

The fact is, this nation is woefully behind other countries in the percentage of population with high-speed broadband. access. Rural areas are particularly underserved. And among George W. Bush's miserable failures has been an inability to deliver on his long-forgotten campaign promise to expand broadband to the masses. Furthermore, the establishment of a national broadband network would stimulate the channel by creating the need for more sophisticated wireless devices and applications. The FCC should do the public a service and approve this broadband plan.

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