TMCnews Featured Article

May 28, 2010

County Executives of America and M2Z Networks team up to set Kenosha County on the Free Broadband Avenue

By Madhubanti Rudra, TMCnet Contributor

More than 51,000 households in Kenosha County have no access to broadband. County Executives of America (CEA) has taken an initiative to address this gap with a plan to bring free broadband wireless service to these households. If approved, the plan would also help create 2,000 job opportunities in Kenosha County.

CEA has roped on M2Z (News - Alert) Networks for implementation of its Kenosha County initiative. Silicon Valley-based M2Z Networks focuses on building a free and fast national broadband network. M2Z's ambitious project aimed at delivering broadband service to at least 95 percent of Americans within 10 years is awaiting the nod from FCC (News - Alert) since May 2006. M2Z is backed by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers; Charles River Ventures; and Redpoint Ventures.

John Muleta, CEO of M2Z Networks, said, "Affordable and interoperable broadband services are essential for public safety officials, educators, hospital administrators, librarians and county employees at every level. Working with CEA member communities like Kenosha County, M2Z is committed to making free broadband service a reality for millions of Americans trapped on the wrong side of the broadband divide."

CEA along with M2Z Networks, has applied for $122 million of stimulus funds to jumpstart broadband development in 12 member counties. This grant application is being considered by the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) of the Commerce Department.

The Kenosha county project expects to accumulate rest of the fund amounting $2.9 billion through American Recovery and Reconstruction Act (ARRA) stimulus funding.  If approved, the project will go a long way to make broadband affordable and universally available throughout the country.

To enable free broadband service, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must vote to make the airwaves available for this purpose by September 30, 2010. Consumers can support the plan by visiting where they can petition the Obama Administration, the FCC and Congress to take action allowing millions of Americans access to affordable broadband.

The NTIA will announce the recipients of the stimulus funds by September 30, 2010. Its decision will be influenced by FCC decision of approving or not approving the use of airwaves for the free broadband plan.

Consumers can petition the FCC to approve use of airwaves for the free broadband plan before September 30, 2010 by visiting

"Absent grant of this application, these important services will not be available at a rate that many of our residents and public safety agencies can afford.' He added, 'Kenosha County will be unable to provide equal access to broadband services for the low income and other populations that have been disadvantaged by the high cost of broadband services," Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser wrote in a letter of support to the NTIA.

Madhubanti Rudra is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard