The Federal Communications Commission is likely to consider a plan this month to auction public airwaves with a mandate that the winning bidder set aside some space for free nationwide broadband internet access, a proposal staunchly opposed by the cell phone industry, Reuters reports. The plan is championed by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican whose time as chairman is waning as the Obama administration prepares to take office in January. Martin said his proposal will be considered at the commission’s December 18 meeting. It faces several hurdles, though. The cell phone industry, for example, is arguing that an FCC requirement for free internet is not a feasible business model for most companies. Also lining up against Martin’s proposal are free-speech advocates, who don’t like a provision that would require the winning bidder to block pornography and other offensive content from the free internet access. Another concern is whether investors are willing to create the needed infrastructure for free internet access in the recession-hit economy. "Everybody likes the concept … but in practice, the way the model is set up, it may present problems," said Ben Scott, policy director of advocacy group Free Press. T-Mobile contends that the free internet component of the proposal would lead to interference with the adjacent spectrum, for which it paid $4.2 billion. The FCC’s office of engineering and technology has said there would be no significant interference with other airwaves…

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