FAQs on M2Z and Free Broadband

“Broadband is the education and information and commerce and jobs of the future, and our challenge is to make sure that everyone has access to it.” Michael J. Copps
FCC Commissioner

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FAQs on M2Z and Free Broadband

M2Z’s business model and approach are exciting and innovative – some people say they are too good to be true – so it’s not surprising there are questions about the service. Below are questions we hear frequently about the service or the company.

Q: If it’s a free service, how will M2Z make money?

A: M2Z will offer the free, wireless (over-the-air) service at speeds of 768 kbps which is the FCC’s definition of “basic always-on broadband.” This is competitive with DSL and about 10 times faster than conventional dial-up.

  • Advertising revenue will support the free service, using local geo-tagging for highly relevant non-intrusive search results (i.e. searching “pizza” will give you the local pizza place down the street and not a Pizza Hut in another city or state)
  • M2Z also earns money for a premium (unfiltered) service at speeds of 6 mbps (6,000 kbps). This offering will be competitive with cable modem services and will be provided through wholesale partners. 

Q: What will M2Z pay for using spectrum to provide this wireless service?

A: In addition to significant public service and build-out commitments, M2Z plans to participate in the auction of the 2155-2180 MHz auction which the FCC committed in its 2010 National Broadband Plan by 2Q 2010.  

Q: Is there a chip or some other equipment required to access the free network? Will M2Z make money by selling that equipment and what will it cost?

A: M2Z expects three types of consumer devices: a gateway device (e.g., home router), a PCMCIA card and the chipset built into notebook computers. A person would need one of these three devices to access the free network. While M2Z will set the standards and certify the devices, it will not make any money from the sale of these devices. They will be available at common electronics stores (e.g. Radio Shack, Best Buy). Initially the cost may be as much as $200 but we expect that prices will fall quickly as more users adopt the free broadband service.

Q: What is the digital divide? How will M2Z help bridge the divide?

A: The digital divide is the gap between those with regular, effective access to digital technologies and those without. In other words, those who are able to use technology to their own benefit and those who are not. Some digital divide facts: Over 100 million Americans don’t have access to high speed Internet

  • 91% if adults living in households earning more than $75,000 have Internet access but only 53% of adults living in households with less than $30,000 have the same
  • 42% of White Americans have high speed Internet access in the home but only 31% of African- Americans have the same 
  • 46% of adults in suburban America have high speed Internet access to the home while only 25% of adults in rural areas have the same

By providing a FREE, wireless broadband Internet service, many more Americans will have access to the benefits of the Internet. For low income citizens, programs which already recycle used computers could be bundled with M2Z so that nearly all Americans may have access to both computers and a high speed Internet connection. 

Q: What are the consumer benefits of M2Z’s service?

A: By conservative estimates, M2Z’s entry in the market for broadband and telecommunications service will generate over $18 billion for U.S. consumers. There have been 3 economic studies published, including 2 by a former FCC Chief Economist.

Q: Who supports M2Z?

A: Public support for FREE Broadband and M2Z’s plan continues to grow! Thousands of letters from organizations, small businesses, and public officials — including mayors and city council members, state senators, U.S. senators and congressmen — and from public safety groups, colleges and universities have been written to the FCC urging them to support M2Z and free, family-friendly broadband. You may view many of these letters on the “Public Interest” section of our website. And over 50,000 individuals have signed the petition in support of M2Z.

Q: What does M2Z need from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate the service? How can I help?

A: M2Z must be able to use spectrum (air waves) in order to offer the wireless service. M2Z has an application pending at the FCC requesting a license to use the spectrum. The spectrum being sought by M2Z has been fallow for over 10 years.  On August 31st 2007, nearly 16 months after M2Z submitted it’s application, the FCC dismissed the M2Z proposal and stated it needed more time to determine if free broadband is in the public interest.  The waiting continues. You can send a letter to the FCC and / or your Congressmen / Senators to indicate your support for free, fast, and family-friendly nationwide broadband by visiting the “Support M2Z” page on this website.

We welcome your questions and comments. Please feel free to submit any additional questions on our contact page.