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I have been hearing about M2Z for a while. What I heard never made much sense> It reminded me of the bill of good that Comcast sold teh Department of Commerce in 1994 when it came up with the boondoggle of Mercer net so that the teacher in Princeton NJ high schools could use cable internet to teach AP classes to deprived kids from the Trenton ghetto. Never happened. What Comcast got in return was a tax payer funder testbed to the tune of 25 million for its cable modem technology.

Now fast forward a dozen years and look at this. We read:

Matching Funds Program will Bring Free Wireless Broadband to Underserved Communities Statewide and Across America

6/13/07 - One Economy Corporation, a multi-national nonprofit, joined with Silicon Valley backed M2Z Networks, Inc. and civic leaders from across North Carolina to kick off the M2Z Broadband Challenge, an innovative nationwide program designed to ensure that all Americans have unfettered access to M2Z’s planned fast, free and family-friendly broadband wireless Internet service.
The Broadband Challenge enlists the private and public sectors in helping schools, libraries, youth centers, lower income families, and others access high-speed Internet through a $10 million dollar-for-dollar matching fund program sponsored by M2Z. As the inaugural partner in the M2Z Broadband Challenge, One Economy Corporation will raise funds for the purchase and distribution of the modems that will be needed to access M2Z’s service. M2Z has no proprietary interest in these modems and will garner no revenue from them. The first modems purchased through this program will be made available in Bertie County, NC. [Snip]

Cook”Edge: so what is thsi about? It looks like a real news article - dated today. I asked my list to comment.

A reader from New Zealand replied:

My concern is that there is so little meat on the bones.

1) The speed is not broadband - 256kb - they must be joking.
2) A 10 year build - with speed that is already years out of date.
3) Specific hardware needs @ $200 per time, hardly free, and especially when 802.11 is built into every machine sold these days.
4) I don’t consider anything “free” if I have endure advertising.

I am not sure what these guys are up to. It does not seem that the entire story is on the table.
Unless they can deliver 5meg + and use standard kit, this is not something I would support.

Then Fred Goldstein nailed the remainder:

Cook’s Edge: What’s going on here?

Goldstein: Uh, Kevin Martin preparing for his next career, running for Senate in North Carolina?

This has all of the hallmarks. You take a commercial venture (M2Z) and create a faux-charity to market it. The insiders are in on the joke, but the local yokel pols can pretend that it’s something else. This creates “gratitude” to be repaid as needed. And of course it’s more pressure to approve M2Z’s shameless spectrum grab. Then you throw in the code word “family-friendly”, which usually means that it’s heavily censored in a manner favorable to the rethuglicans and their preacher allies. That’s a big winner in southern rethug primaries. So’s “rural”, which brings in the heart of the state party, the tobacco farmers.

Plus, by overhanging the market with this subsidized Fat Wasteband, real ISPs lose some of their customer base. That’s a bonus for K-Mart. So’s having a “free” as in lunch, totally unfree-as-in-speech. Service as an excuse to not make room for unlicensed operators or competitive providers. Karl Rove himself could have dreamed this one up.

And finally what about the so called “news story?” Google news has the answer here. It is a press release from PR News wire!

It’s said that M2Z has many friends at the FCC - just watch!

Shame on these people!

4 Responses to “Stay Far Away from M2Z - Why it is Not in Public Interest”

  1. on 14 Jun 2007 at 2:07 am Jeffrey Sterling

    My second hand exposure to One Economy is that of an organization
    that is on the make and on the take.

    They put on a nice front, but they have no interest in offending their corporate funders (aka Verizon, ATT, Qwest).

    One Economy would fall into the first class section of nonprofit astroturfers falsely representing the disenfranchised while looking for a handout from the corporate world.

    I know of a straight up community-ownership model that worked its way up the food chain at One Economy only to be rejected as too offensive to its “sponsors”.


  2. on 14 Jun 2007 at 2:13 am David

    Are you nuts? A company wants to connect poor people that can’t afford Internet and you have a problem with it? Why should the big guys use the airways that belong to EVERYONE to provide services that only some can afford.

  3. on 14 Jun 2007 at 3:05 am Gordon Cook

    Hi david,

    | E-mail: [email protected] | IP: | Date: June 14, 2007

    Please tell me what is b.com? and why you have such a strange address, and what is your full name and affiliation? I am curious David.

    Your defense of M2Z arrived with truly remarkable speed. I have been reporting on things internert since 1992 and I will need a much more reasoned analysis than yoiur before I see M2Z as anything othere thanself serving bell astroturf.

    Can any reader unlock the mystery of who David is and what IP number he’s coming from?

  4. on 14 Jun 2007 at 4:11 am Peter Williams (MAN-n-BAG)

    Dude, I want more people to have access to a free high speed Internet so online companies like mine can sell more stuff. In fact, a lot of small online business are endorsing M2Z. And if they don’t offer free as advertised, then the FCC should revoke their license. Sounds simple to me.

    For an intelligent review on the subject, visit Harold Feld’s blog. That guy knows the issues!


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