“Free” is good public policy

In the communications field, rarely does an idea come along with such obvious and compelling public interest benefits that when it finally does, it creates dissonance among decision makers that must act on it. M2Z is one such idea.

“It seems too good to be true. How in the world could anyone be against it?” are usually the first comments we hear when we explain the benefits of M2Z Networks to the public.

What is M2Z Networks?

Nearly 18 months ago, M2Z – a Silicon Valley company – requested permission from the FCC to blanket the US with a FREE, family-friendly wireless broadband service. The basic idea is to bring consumer-friendly wireless broadband connectivity to everyone – especially the 100+ million American adults and their children lacking broadband or any internet access today.

The Vision

The vision is simple. In the same way that advertising-supported, free, over-the-air television became ubiquitous (98% coverage) in the American household, M2Z wants to replicate this successful model for broadband. In the digital age, internet connectivity is a key factor of production with a tremendous impact on economic competitiveness. By making broadband internet access both ubiquitous and free, the ripple effect into other segments of the economy would be profoundly positive.

Public Policy Implications

For the FCC, the government agency which must rule on M2Z’s application, the public policy benefits of a service such as the one proposed by M2Z are not only direct and immediate but they are mandated under Section I (one) of the Communications Act, which requires the FCC to make communication services available to the public “without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, a rapid, efficient, nationwide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.”

With the US rapidly falling behind other countries in broadband deployment, existing facilities are clearly inadequate and it’s impossible to argue that “free” is not a reasonable charge. In the same way that free access to Interstate highways spurred commerce in the last century, “free” for broadband is not only a pricing mechanism, but is good public policy to spur future commerce.


The Basics

M2Z Networks filed an application with the FCC to lease 20MHz of fallow spectrum and deploy a free and family friendly wireless Internet broadband service, nationwide.

In addition to a free service that competes with low end DSL (and 6x the speed of dial-up), M2Z will also provide a premium service, primarily via a wholesale business model, that competes with cable broadband services.

M2Z is a Silicon Valley Company backed by 3 premier venture capital firms – Kleiner Perkins, Charles River Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.