FCC's Martin Drops Porn Filtering Idea
Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 30, 2008
Even though Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin is leaving in a matter of weeks, he still hopes to push through a major policy decision he’s been backing for months: One that would create a nationwide free wireless broadband network for use by all.
Until now, this ambitious proposal has met with resistance from everyone from incumbent wireless service providers such as T-Mobile USA, worried the new network would cause interference to its users to consumer advocacy groups, which have particularly objected to Martin’s idea of filtering adult content available on this public network. Well, in an interview published by Ars Technica on Dec. 29, Martin said that he has dropped his porn filtering idea in hopes of garnering more support for the open network proposal.
But while the FCC is set to hold its final meeting on Jan. 15, days before Barack Obama is sworn into office, I would be surprised to see the open networks proposal passing then. The idea is still out of favor with telcos. And outgoing commissioners may not want to risk those players’ ire just at the time when they are likely about to lose their jobs if Obama, as expected, appoints a new commission — and when they may need to go shopping for positions within the industry.
That said, I wouldn't be surprised to see President-elect Obama's FCC take up the idea of free wireless broadband access. Making broadband accessible to all is a major priority for the new administration. But they will no doubt implement the project on their own terms, and on their own time frame.