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No-porn proviso is cut from free broadband plan

December 31, 2008|BLOOMBERG NEWS

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin is dropping a requirement that the provider of a proposed free Internet network block adult content from the service.

Martin's plan calls for the FCC to sell 25 megahertz of airwaves and then require the buyer to use a quarter of that spectrum to provide free wireless Internet access. Originally, he wanted the winning bidder to install filters that would block children under 18 from accessing pornography.

"The most important thing was that the winner be required to offer free broadband," Martin said Tuesday. "I am doing everything I can to still move forward with that item."

Public-interest organizations raised concerns that the content restriction would keep service providers from agreeing to offer the free network. The groups are counting on the project to extend Internet access to more low-income Americans.

The plan has drawn opposition from the Bush administration and wireless carriers.

FCC members are presidential appointees but they're not obligated to adhere to White House policy.

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