Fearing that the FCC will soon dismiss its application for a free nationwide wireless network in the 2.1 GHz band, M2Z Networks filed a petition with the FCC yesterday that includes the signatures of 50,000 Americans in support of the plan. Filed in May 2006, the M2Z application proposes a 20 MHz national broadband network in the 2155- 2175 MHz band that would offer free basic service to customers in exchange for the payment of a 5% usage fee to the U.S. Treasury that would be based on the company’s revenues for paid premium services as well as for wholesale capacity provided to other carriers. M2Z has also pledged to launch service within 24 months of licensing and to reach 95% of the U.S. population within ten years. Since opening proceedings on the request, the FCC has been inundated with more than 2,000 filings. Supporters include major Internet firms such as Google, Netscape and Amazon.com, consumer advocacy groups, and government officials from local, state and federal jurisdictions. The wireless industry, meanwhile, has voiced strong opposition to the plan on grounds that M2Z would receive spectrum free-of-charge that would otherwise be auctioned. According to M2Z CEO John Muleta—a former chief of the FCC’s Wireless Bureau—M2Z was notified last week that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin had begun circulating a draft order that would deny the M2Z application. Asserting that “more than 50,000 Americans have raised their voices to express support for M2Z’s plan,” M2Z senior advisor Kathleen Wallman said, “as the FCC evaluates whether [the] application is in the public interest, one thing is clear: the public is interested.” Urging the FCC to “fully and fairly review the detailed record associated with M2Z’s license application,” M2Z also said it would consider taking the FCC to court in an effort to force a thorough analysis of the plan.