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Consumer Groups Can't Support Free Broadband Proposal

A group of consumer advocacy organizations has told the FCC that it cannot support FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's free broadband proposal if it includes content filtering as part of the requirement.

That came in comments from Free Press, Media Access Project, Consumers Union, and Public Knowledge Thursday, the same day the FCC is scheduled to release the agenda for the Dec. 18 meeting, where Martin planned to vote on the proposal.

That puts those groups on the same side of the issue as the Bush administration, but for different reasons. The administration doesn't want the free broadband proposal attached to an upcoming auction of advanced wireless spectrum (the WAS-3 auction), saying it "would likely lead to congested and inefficiently used broadband, and it would be inconsistent with the Administration's view that spectrum should be allocated by markets rather than governments."

The consumer groups favor free broadband service, but not if content filtering that must be opted out of is part of the plan. “To the extent that mandatory or “opt-out” filtering remains part ofthe proposal," they said, "commenters must oppose the proposal as a whole."

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin had proposed making a content filter that screened out content unsuitable to minors part be attached to the free service