Thursday, August 30, 2007

FCC Dismisses M2Z Petition for 2155-2175 MHz band

The dismissed a petition from M2Z Networks seeking an exclusive license to nationwide spectrum in the 2155-2175 MHz band. The company had sought to provide free, advertising-supported, wireless Internet access in areas reaching 95% of the U.S. population. In return, M2Z was promising a 5% royalty payment of its revenues to the U.S. Treasury for 15 years.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wrote "the public interest is best served by considering fully the best use of this spectrum in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, rather than through forbearance petitions seeking exclusive use for a single entity."

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who also voted to dismiss the M2Z petition, issued a statement outlining the possibilities that could result from the Proposed Rulemaking: (1) opening this band to unlicensed use, as has proved so productive in other bands; (2) designating it for an open access model that would combine wholesale broadband access and a Carterfone mandate; (3) using it to provide free, advertiser-supported broadband service (as initially proposed by M2Z and one other applicant) as well as a fee-based premium broadband service; or (4) allocating it through a traditional, largely unconditioned auction.
  • M2Z Networks attracted a number of high-profile backers, including the firms of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers; Charles River Ventures; and Redpoint Ventures.