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Free Broadband, Part 4,892

Posted by Matthew Greensmith at 7:22 AM on September 3, 2008

Another company is proposing to offer free broadband everywhere. M2Z is gathering venture capital funding and preparing to bid on next year’s auction of the advanced wireless services-3 spectrum. I wish them luck.

Their business model, based on getting the spectrum in the first place, indicates deployment by late 2009, with ultimately 95% of the country covered by their ad-supported, free wireless broadband at speeds of up to 768 kbs, almost twice as fast as current wireless broadband offerings. They also intend to offer “premium” services of 3-6 mbps for the low low cost of $20 a month.

Sounds good to me, as I sit and write my check out for 3 mbps monthly through ATT DSL and it’s a lot higher than $20.

Of course, the telcos and current wireless providers are crying foul. They don’t want to compete with free. It might force them to offer higher speeds at more reasonable costs. As it is, I’ve long believed that the telcos and cable companies are gouging the market with their high rates and low speeds, while profiting (and pocketing) plenty of my hard-earned cash. The model should allow for infrastructure building to increase speeds and lower costs, not line someone’s pocket. The capitalist society we live in, however, lives and breathes to make money, not provide service, and the customers are stuck with whatever is being offered to them.

I am reminded of a question I used to ask students in software classes: “What is Microsoft in the business of?” I’d get a lot of answers, but never the right one. Microsoft is in the business of making money. They aren’t in the software business. They are in the business of making money. It is the same with the telcos and cable companies. “Free” and “useful” and “fast” don’t fit in their frame of reference.

I’ll be interested to see if M2Z can get up and running.