FCC plan to remove porn filtering from internet plan

Kevin Martin, the Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, is still working to push a plan to create a free wireless broadband network.

Public Knowledge, which supports the plan, writes:

We appreciate the potential of a new service that could provide a genuine alternative to the current wireline cable modem/DSL duopoly, to apply pressure on cable and telecom providers to enhance their service and speed offerings, to promote unrestricted networks for the full range of contents, applications, and innovations, as well as to make the concept of opportunistic sharing with unlicensed devices a real and viable option going forward.

There has been broad skepticism about the lower-speed internet plan and Martin and the FCC’s ability to launch this plan. In an attempt to push through the plan before the inauguration, when it’s assumed his position will be assigned to someone else, Martin recently removed the porn filter requirement to the bill. As Martin told Ars Technica:

I’m saying if this is a problem for people, let’s take it away. … A lot of public interest advocates have said they would support this, but we’re 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.

Stacey Higginbotham at Gigaom.com writes deliciously:

Even without the filter, the plan to use the spectrum to offer free wireless broadband at 768 kbps is akin to offering the have-nots a cracker, while the haves get to upgrade from eating hamburgers to steak. Sure the cracker is free, but the rest of the country is paying $45-$60 a month for 3G services that offer up to 1 Mbps. … Maybe a little nudity on the side makes the cracker a bit more appetizing, but it’s still too little, too late, for this plan.

The Obama team is expected to have an ambitious national broadband plan.  So will Martin make it? According to Ars Technica:

The filter concept is history now. As for the revised proposal, the agency is scheduling another Open Commission meeting for January 15. That may very well be Kevin Martin’s final formal FCC appearance, and we have no word yet on what dockets will come up during the meeting. … But the Commissioners could give the go-ahead to the re-smuttified free broadband plan at any time—assuming Martin gets at least two more votes for his new proposal, and gets them quick.

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