Commercial ISPs will have to compete with free service
nationwide if a group of county chief executives has its way.
Executives of America
(CEA), an association of over 700 member counties across the country, said
Monday (April 26) it plans to create a nationwide wireless broadband network to
provide free service to residents using AWS-3 spectrum held by the FCC.
It has applied for $122 million in broadband stimulus bucks
to launch the network in a dozen counties to start with, with Silicon
Valley-based M2Z Networks building out the plant in each county.
The counties where ISPs could be facing new competition from
the network first are Allegheny County, Pa.; Bronx County, N.Y.; Chambers and
Kaufmann Counties, Texas; DeKalb County, Ga.; Kenosha County, Wis.; New Castle
County, Del.; Prince George's and Montgomery Counties, Md.
CEA says that the biggest obstacle to adoption is cost, and
that equal access to broadband by those who can't afford it is a "right of
Currently the FCC doesn't plan on making the spectrum
available until 2011, the group points out, but says its plan should spur the
FCC to speed up that process.
Spokespeople for the National Cable & Telecommunications
Association and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski had no comment on the plan.