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Bill Calls For Wi-Fi Base Stations In All Federal Buildings 196

Posted by timothy
from the other-people's-money dept.
GovTechGuy submits this from Hillicon Valley: "Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced legislation on Friday that would require all public federal buildings to install WiFi base stations in order to free up cell phone networks. The Federal Wi-Net Act would mandate the installation of small WiFi base stations in all publicly accessible federal buildings in order to increase wireless coverage and free up mobile networks. The bill would require all new buildings under construction to comply and all older buildings to be retrofitted by 2014. It also orders $15 million from the Federal Buildings Fund be allocated to fund the installations."
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Bill Calls For Wi-Fi Base Stations In All Federal Buildings

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  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @10:32AM (#34443164)

    We don't have the cash for this let the cell phone companies pay for it.

  • Bah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 04, 2010 @10:35AM (#34443178)

    LOL.....Poor mobile phone providers....Waste tax payers money building out a completely useless wireless network so they do t need to upgrade their own networks.

    If your public servants need a wireless network to do their job, install a wireless network, dont mandate it in legislation!

  • by olsmeister (1488789) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @10:35AM (#34443180)
    So nice of our gubernment to take some of the load off of those congested cellular networks. Phew.
  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jrono (470199) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @10:39AM (#34443202)
    The government doesn't need to be wasting money on stuff like this right now... Not only do the wifi base stations cost money, there are also the reoccurring Internet connection costs and general maintenance costs. Or is this supposed to be some sort of telecom bailout? Besides who wants to use an Internet connection directly controlled by the feds?
  • Re:Good idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tomhudson (43916) <barbara DOT huds ... a-hudson DOT com> on Saturday December 04, 2010 @10:59AM (#34443286) Journal

    Especially when you consider every building will be a government building eventually.

    What do you mean "eventually"? Stop paying your property tax and you'll find out who the real owner is ...

    Sovereign states own all the land within their confines. You have the right to "buy" some of it, but you will pay "taxes" (rent) for that "ownership privilege".

    What you're really buying is the usufruct of the land. You will never own it, even if the mortgage is paid.

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:39AM (#34443480) Homepage Journal

    Absolutely. This isn't even stimulus-worthy, Wifi base stations require virtually no American labor.

    It also promotes the lie that the cellular networks are congested due to lack of resources. In reality, AT&T and Verizon, to name but two, are sitting on unused AWS spectrum in virtually the entire country, that they've made a policy decision to buy but as yet not deploy anything to. There are also several companies sitting on spectrum in the 2GHz to 4GHz bands, supposedly to roll-out TDD variants of WiMAX and UMTS-TDD, but who've not had the funds to actually set the things up.

    There is, believe it or not, a spectrum *glut* by any sane measurement of spectrum usage at the moment, and as spectrum efficiency improves year by year, with technologies from HSPA+ to LTE improving available bandwidth per MHz exponentially, the old arguments for treating wireless services as inherently more expensive than wired are fast falling away.

  • by Simon80 (874052) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:41AM (#34443490)
    It's called a positive externality. Sometimes the government does actually have a place doing this.
  • by camperdave (969942) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @02:07PM (#34444618) Journal

    I couldn't agree more. This is one of those good ideas we just can't afford, especially with the country's present financial condition.

    Oh for the love of Pete! You spend over half a trillion dollars a year on your military, as much as the rest of the other militaries on the planet combined. Cut your military spending by a few percent and you could pay for proper schools, the space program, and still have money left over to put wifi in your government offices.

  • Re:Bah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gnapster (1401889) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @02:54PM (#34444902)

    Come, now. I was aiming for funny, not insightful. But since you ask..

    Senators are US citizens, just like most people living in the USA. Introducing legislation is one of the special powers that they have as members of the legislative branch of the government, and as such it is more effective for them than for the rest of us. But do you really believe that legislation is the only tool US citizens (legislators or not) have for getting things done? You must feel pretty powerless. :c(

    They could talk to the people in charge of technical infrastructure in federal buildings. Communicate with people in the FCC and Presidential cabinet. I don't know who would be in charge of the oversight and implementation of the installations that they are trying to introduce with this bill, but it seems to me that Congress is probably not the closest Womb of Policy for this particular issue. I have no doubt that if I felt strongly about increasing wireless coverage, I could find out who the important people are, and get in touch. As senators, Snowe and Warner have more ready knowledge of these hierarchies, and the station and name recognition to have their voices heard.

    That said, the article indicates (in the fourth paragraph) that they are not only interested in Wi-Fi coverage in Federal buildings, but "preventing dropped calls that occur indoors and in rural areas due to poor cell phone coverage, while also hopefully boosting wireless network capacity". This sounds much more comprehensive than the summary, which indicates that they are simply focusing on federal buildings. That is a scenario where legislation may be warranted.

    My comment, however, was simply playing off the parent, who was basically asking, "Do we really need a law on the books so that members of Congress don't get dropped calls in the Capitol Building?" If that is all this bill is about, then it seems like these senators would be better-served by walking down the hall and knocking on the door of their helpdesk. Maybe they've already tried that, and now are going over the head of an ornery sysadmin.

  • Re:Bah (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @04:36PM (#34445492) Homepage Journal

    You and I are both powerless to get anything done to the telcos without the government. That is why we have a government. The Senate help desk isn't going to get anything done about dropped calls that are the telcos fault without the government either, which means legislation.

    Indeed, this Senate legislation protects more than just the phonecalls in the Senate. It works to solve a more general problem for all Americans, that happens to also affect the Senate. That kind of universal management is what we want from government, not just their using special advantages like a help desk that most people in America don't have for ourselves.

    You might have been "aiming for funny", but it wasn't funny, mainly because it was wrong. Really you were looking to say something anti-government without being responsible for it being correct, which is what passes for "funny" among "Conservatives".

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