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

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the other-people's-money dept.

Government 196

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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196 comments

We don't have the cash for this let the cell phone (4, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443164)

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

Re:We don't have the cash for this let the cell ph (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443194)

if we have cash to keep paying big fat nigger women to keep poppin out more future criminal kids then we got cash for this. seriously, they get 17k per year per fatherless bastard child. we should be paying these porkers to keep their legs closed and stop getting knocked up.

to paraphrase ben franklin... niggers make niggers and the niggers that niggers make make even more niggers.

Re:We don't have the cash for this let the cell ph (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443248)

We bred them for 200 years to be stupid and strong (slave trade) and there hasn't been a single generation since the Civil War that has had a real opportunity to get a proper education and out of poverty. It is any surprise that they commit so many crimes and have so many babies? We've set them up to do so. The only real career opportunities for a black man are athlete or criminal and there just aren't that many athlete jobs.

One solution would be to take the kids away from the parents and raise them independently, so they never learn that lifestyle, but I doubt this country has the stomach to make it happen.

Alternate solution (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443314)

Privatize the cafeterias to Starbucks and Caribou. Instant wifi and revenue!

Great (2)

Stellian (673475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443340)

WiFileaks.org ?

Re:Great (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443810)

WiFileaks.org ?

Just how exactly, could this go wrong? Considering past performance, the Congress (the opposite of progress) and the Senate (much like the one in ancient Rome) have little understanding of the bills they pass, unless there's something in it for them or their constituents ($$$, not the voting kind).

Re:We don't have the cash for this let the cell ph (1)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443538)

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.

Re:We don't have the cash for this let the cell ph (2)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444318)

Well, I guess it doesn't need to be WiFi. Any Government building probably (in most cases) already has some sort of halfway-decent broadband access. Internal phones could easily be connected to the outside world via wired VOIP. I don't see any requirement for anyone visiting the building (or in the vicinity) to be able to take a free ride on the Government's internet connection.

Re:We don't have the cash for this let the cell ph (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444618)

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:We don't have the cash for this let the cell ph (1)

Kizeh (71312) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443558)

That's actually kind of what the bill says, to my reading: http://www.scribd.com/doc/44617300/Federal-Wi-Net-Act [scribd.com]

Re:We don't have the cash for this let the cell ph (1)

catherder_finleyd (322974) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444042)

Actually, the Government will pay for this. The money will come out of the "Federal Buildings Fund". It is collected from "rent" the GSA is paid by Federal Agencies that use federal facilities.

Re:We don't have the cash for this let the cell ph (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443600)

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

By which, you mean, the consumer will pay for it.

ANY costs assigned to the cell carriers will be directly (or even inflatedly) passed onto the consumer. Period. Heck, if you asked them, they would admit as much.

Re:We don't have the cash for this let the cell ph (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444486)

No, the telcos don't have to pass the cost to the consumer. They can pay for it out of their profits, which are huge. If there's a problem with that, it's in the protections they have in a cartel, where they don't have to compete with each other. Which is probably the most essential reform that Congress should pass, and this kind of development forces that issue into the open.

The idea that all costs to business are simply transferred 100% to the business' customers, ignoring the source of funds in profits, is to be believed only by the same people who believe that tax cuts without service cuts are possible by ignoring the debt that's created instead.

Re:We don't have the cash for this let the cell ph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444932)

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

By which, you mean, the consumer will pay for it.

ANY costs assigned to the cell carriers will be directly (or even inflatedly) passed onto the consumer. Period. Heck, if you asked them, they would admit as much.

ANY costs assigned to "the government" will be directly (or even inflatedly) passed onto the tax payer. Period.

We're already paying for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444084)

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

We are already spending the cash for it. How do you think many Govt employees & contractors are getting their Internet? 3g wireless cards. And do you think those nice employees are paying for that service out of their pockets with a smile? Nope, that money is coming straight from the govt. In reality, this is moving money from one pot to the other, and hopefully providing better service when it is under govt control. Do I trust the govt to do this right? Not really, but we already many of the cell companies aren't doing it right....

Re:We don't have the cash for this let the cell ph (1)

NetServices (1479949) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444278)

Why have anyone pay for it? Why is this something the government is required to supply?

Public WiFi (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444474)

We should go all the way, make a Federal law requiring counties and municipalities to deploy and operate a unified public WiFi network with complete coverage wherever the public access density exceeds some small number of people (the number in which at least 10 people an hour are statistically likely to be present). The Feds should back that mandate by hosting WiFi and Internet interconnect infrastructure in any Federal building at Federal cost, as designed by the municipality/county. And pay for the entire operation with a Federal tax on private wireless network businesses, like mobile telcos. The telcos should pay for the service to them that offloading to public WiFi delivers, but the public should organize the effort and reduce the cost with existing infrastructure.

Bah (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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!

Re:Bah (1)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443344)

Cut 'em some slack. These are senators... legislation is the only way they know to get things done!

Re:Bah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443638)

(rhythmic finger snapping)
I got a boogah
On my fingah
And I caint get it off

Re:Bah (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444496)

Legislation is the only way Senators have to get things done. It's the only power they actually have (except sleazy intimidation tactics that are backed up by threats of legislation).

You're not a Senator, so I'd like to hear the way you know for them to get things done that's not legislation.

Re:Bah (3, Insightful)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443794)

The carriers can stick small repeaters in the government buildings to increase capacity and coverage. We have some TMobile stuff in one of our IDFs. Sometimes I unplug it for a few minutes just for the fun of it.

What's worse, they never needed to buy anything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444294)

They could take any existing computer already with a WiFi adapter, re-orient the antena, set the driver to "Station" mode, run some software that will do some extra routing and shaping in the Background process, and the man can still use his computer while it's servicing Peers.

What they Legislate instead: buy more hardware than we need.

Who was behind this? ATT? (3, Insightful)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443180)

So nice of our gubernment to take some of the load off of those congested cellular networks. Phew.

Good idea (0)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443200)

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

Yeah, it was too quiet in here. :)

Re:Good idea (1, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443286)

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:Good idea (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443356)

Uh, no.

Your bogus anti-tax argument blows chunks.

You get to own it until you die. Then, depending on the theory of post-death ownership, someone/thing else does.

And gladly, my property taxes pay for public safety, schools, infrastructure, and other things needed in a civilized society.

Your theory doesn't get past the tip of your greedy nose.

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443424)

I love all these arguments lately about people who don't want taxes being greedy.... bunch of sheep....

Re:Good idea (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443670)

Well, they are. Notice how those same people don't generally volunteer their favorite programs to be cut in order to fund the tax cuts?

The main exception being the folks that want the rich to pay their fair share of the taxes as they've generally already given up their stuff to get those low taxes for the rich. Returning that to where it belongs is a tad different than the right wing antitax nuts that seem to think that no poor person should ever expect any help making something of themselves.

Re:Good idea (1)

cforciea (1926392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444122)

Exactly. There are very few people who are actually for cutting taxes and spending. Almost all of them are for cutting taxes that they think they are going to pay and cutting spending on programs that benefit other people. The tragic part is that somehow the incredibly rich have convinced large portions of the middle class that the taxes they are going to have to pay equates to taxes on people in the top half of one percent of income brackets in the country because somehow the entire bottom four income quintiles hope they are all going to make it there someday.

Re:Good idea (2)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444428)

Just to be clear here... "Fair" does not mean more. The rich are already paying a higher percentage of their income (28-35%) than the poor (10-25%.) (Arbitrary line drawn by me) You can see by the first chart:
http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html [taxfoundation.org]
that even after adjustments, the rich still pay over 17% (up to 23%) where the "poor" pay under 15% (as low as 2.59%.)

I think what you are referring to as "Fair" is the rich being taxed so much that they can only afford minimally more than the poor. This is only "Fair" if you think that net income (after taxes) should be equal. Or that "Fair" constitutes a specific standard of living and anything above that is "excess." The problem with that is that it's only fair until you cross the line where it's now, "not fair" that they are taking more of your income than your neighbor who doesn't work as many hours or have as much responsibility as you.

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on what you are thinking.

Re:Good idea (1)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443374)

I was going to say something similar, but you put it well. I had never heard the word 'usufruct' before; thanks for expanding my vocabulary!

Re:Good idea (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443464)

You were going to make the same bullshit antitax rant? When you pay to buy a plot of land from the owner, you own it lock, stock and barrels. The government can't take that property just because it wants it, they have to either pay for it or use eminent domain to seize it. But even then they have to pay you for it.

The taxes they charge are for the services they provide as a result of your owning that property. The reason why they can seize the property if you fail to pay the taxes is that it's how they collect the debt. They've paid for the property by way of the individual not being taxed on it for a period of time.

But no, the GP's argument is really accurate, there are no protections against the government seizing your land. /sarcasm

Re:Good idea (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444374)

So like the GP said, stop paying the property taxes and see how long you have the property. You took a longer road to make the same point and claim you disagree, which is a seriously strange way of making an argument.

Re:Good idea (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444538)

No, there are ways to make you stop owning the property. If you sell it to someone else, or otherwise agree they own it, then you don't own it anymore - but that doesn't mean you never owned it. Another way to stop owning something is if the state takes it from you. There are some obligations property owners have to the state that when violated result in the state taking ownership from the owner. If you use property to damage someone else the state can take ownership. If the owner fails to pay certain taxes the state can take ownership. That doesn't mean that the owner didn't own it, but that their ownership was ended.

The two points are not the same just because you say they are, just as ownership doesn't mean something different just because you say it does.

Re:Good idea (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444218)

Depends on the land law in your particular juristiction. In England, the Queen owns all the land and you are granted a licence to occupy it in perpetuity. In Scotland, you own it. Although in reality it makes no practical difference either way.

I have to pay property tax in England even though I rent the place. My landlord doesn't have to pay property tax on it, because he has rented it out to me. The tax is payable for the benefit I receive from local services provided by the council, not "rent" for "ownership privilege". The government has the right to seize possessions and sell them to collect unpaid tax, and that includes real estate if you own any. That is just a debt enforcement mechanism, not a sign that they "really own it".

Re:Good idea (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444392)

A better way to phrase it would be that real property is nearly unique in that you are required to pay taxes on it even if you don't use it at all. If I don't put my car out on public roads (e.g., a farm truck), I don't have to pay any licensing fees just to own it.

Ultimately, do you really own something if you have to pay to keep it? He obviously thinks not. You do.

Re:Good idea (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444506)

No, you own the land. But ownership of property doesn't mean unlimited, unencumbered control of it. You are using "own" to mean something it never means. The typical "libertarian" fantasy that is true only perhaps in Sim City, never in reality.

Why? (3, Insightful)

Jrono (470199) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Why? (0)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443316)

Many government buildings would be Cold war era hardened or have a few different telco and non telco connections with backup power.
In time of need, you can power up your laptop and post, blog images and video clips of local importance in near real time.
Sort of like ham radio, or Emergency Broadcast System but you will be uploading unique news from a federal building.
As federal agents watch and your local fusion center tracks ip's you will be the one of the few to upload .....

Re:Why? (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443332)

Exactly and that fits into my suggestion above [slashdot.org]. I prefer Starbucks lack of WiFi censorship over Caribou's blocking of certain sites they deem inappropriate.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443358)

Caribou is owned by some Middle Eastern company that follows Muslim rules. They won't serve bacon either.

Re:Why? (1)

iceperson (582205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443364)

I dunno. This sounds like building infrastructure, which is actually one of the jobs of government. Certainly there are better things they could do with the money, but I'd say this falls more in line with things government should be doing than things like bailing out banks or most social programs...

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443480)

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.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443648)

Here's a novel idea..

Why not just force the telcos to provide BETTER CELL service in the first place?

Re:Why? (2)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444398)

Why not just force the telcos to provide BETTER CELL service in the first place?

Telcos could do more, but it seems to me that sooner or later, especially in congested urban areas, just about everybody is going to be fighting for bandwidth over the cell networks. As phone usage approaches 100% of the population, in combination with usage of USB/PCMCIA wireless doodads, something is going to have to give, especially if/when the world moves on to IPV6.

Seems to me the sensible thing would be to get as much traffic as possible moving along optical or wired networks and out of the air.

Re:Why? (1)

floodo1 (246910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444872)

nah, that'd be government meddling in the private market. regulation forces people out of business!

/end of sarcasm :(

Re:Why? (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444184)

Many, if not most, public government buildings already have guest-access Internet ports. Some are wifi, some are wired. That means the connection and most maintenance costs are already provided for.

As for who would use it...any public person who has to do business with the gov't and needs internet access. Don't like the idea of a gov't run connection? Set up a VPN and tunnel.

-me
(a gov't employee, speaking from personal experience)

Free wifi here! (3, Funny)

soupforare (542403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443204)

We're not sniffing every connection and logging every packet, honest!

Re:Free wifi here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443230)

We're not Google, we just look like Google!

Re:Free wifi here! (1)

Scryer (60692) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443826)

And you thought government workers were already in promiscuous mode!

I'm not sure whether it'll be a good or a bad thing that they'll all be sneakily monitoring each other's Skype calls and email... it'll take away from the time they're on *our* backsides!

Not for long (2)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443254)

Don't worry. By 2016 they'll have figured out that having access points everywhere is a security risk of some sort. The current act will still be in force to require them to be installed, of course, but the We're Scared Of Our Shadows act of 2017 will require that they never have power connected. No problem.

Missing the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443266)

Too bad we can't see what companies these two Sens own stock in that manufacturer/sell the access points

They should go wider... (4, Interesting)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443300)

Over here where I come from, not only do government buildings have free wifi - but so do public areas such as parks or gardens.

You can just bring a laptop and work there (for as long as your battery lasts at least) or whatever. That way people who don't want/have data plans can still get wireless internet.

Re:They should go wider... (0)

will381796 (1219674) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443368)

Yeah, because internet access is a RIGHT and the government should be spending our taxpayers money to make sure everyone should be able to get online. The government has no place doing this.

Re:They should go wider... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443410)

Yeah, because internet access is a RIGHT and the government should be spending our taxpayers money to make sure everyone should be able to get online.

The government has no place doing this.

Well, actually, the rationale is that the Internet is Knowledge and in a free society, Knowledge is a RIGHT.

Except, apparently, for wikileaked stuff.

Re:They should go wider... (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443426)

Yeah, because internet access is a RIGHT

In the EU, it is now regarded as such, along with things like clean water, heating, and access to education, because it is increasingly difficult to participating in society without Internet access.

and the government should be spending our taxpayers money to make sure everyone should be able to get online

One of the things that governments are responsible for is ensuring that everyone has (at least approximately) equal opportunities.

Re:They should go wider... (1, Insightful)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443490)

It's called a positive externality. Sometimes the government does actually have a place doing this.

Re:They should go wider... (2)

reasterling (1942300) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443512)

The more that our government uses the internet for the purpose of public services (ie. pay your taxes online and such) the more it becomes a necessity. To much of our lives the internet is allready something we can not live without. Just think of all the places where you are required to fill out an application online before you are even considered for a job. And not every community has a library. I welcome the day when our local post office will be a local hotspot.

If our society requires that an individual have internet to function, then it should be made available to those who can not afford at the tax payers expense. If you don't like that then perhaps we need to quit useing it for things that are necessary to peoples lives.

Re:They should go wider... (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444604)

The more that our government uses the internet for the purpose of public services (ie. pay your taxes online and such) the more it becomes a necessity.

Wonderful! Then the Government will pay the postage for my tax return if I mail it in? Or are they going to selectively decide which means to subsidize the filing of your taxes?

Re:They should go wider... (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443822)

Just like having your house fire put out by complete strangers is a HUMAN RIGHT, right?

The government is enabled to do many things that aren't RIGHTs, and they are right to do many of the things they can that aren't RIGHTs-enabling.

Re:They should go wider... (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443986)

It isn't a right in the states. At least not all of them. Fire departments are controlled at a municipal level. And in many places fire fighters are pay to use. If you don't subscribe to the fire fighting service and you house catches fire they let it burn down.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Mises-Economics-Blog/2010/1017/Home-uninsured.-Firemen-let-it-burn.-Crazy-capitalism [csmonitor.com]

Re:They should go wider... (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444012)

Your point? It's a government service, and will\d.* was "arguing" that governments should not provide any service that isn't a right.

Re:They should go wider... (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444210)

My point was that in some parts of the states, fire departments are NOT a government service. I'm personally practically socialist so you're preaching to the choir on this point.

I was just correcting your point saying that "government provides services that aren't a right such as fire control" when they don't necessarily do so. You were disproving the idea that government is not always wrong by using fire fighting as an example. It wasn't clear whether you were aware that there are whole districts out there who would privatize the fire dept.

Re:They should go wider... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444280)

Gotcha. Posting anon just because there's no point in risking my karma by megaposting when this post is just to say "you're a good dood" ;)

Phew. This will speed up my leaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443304)

My cell phone carrier was complaining about all that cell bandwidth I was blowing through during working hours. But now I'll be able to push out my leaks to Julian a lot faster and cheaper.

Wouldn't be a bad idea ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443354)

if the US government weren't already running a $1 trillion plus deficit :-(

Cool! Let's spread these all over each city ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443360)

Then tell the providers to go fuck themselves. Having a single provider, the government, will cut costs and free up a boatload of bandwidth. Right now we have the opposite of AT&T pre 1980s. Back then AT&T had a monopoly and kept prices high. After the break up competition crept in and prices dropped like a rock. I used to have $150 phone bills back in the 80s because of a couple of long distance calls a week. In today's dollars we'd be talking about more like $300 a month. Now you can get five cents a minute instead of a dollar back then and Skype is free. The providers are over charging and under providing yet the FCC keeps right on renewing their licenses and guess who gets the new bandwidth as it gets freed up? The same providers we have now.

Cell phone companies want this? (1)

Spiflicator (64611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443366)

Maybe I'm in the minority but I was surprised to see all of the posts thinking that the cellular providers would like this. I figured they would prefer to have as many people using (and paying for) their bandwidth as possible I wouldn't have been surprised to hear that the lobbyists were out in full force against this..

Yeah, that will work out (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443390)

Since many USGOV buildings and installations have a complete ban on WiFi hotspots since they are insecure.

Lets let anyone attach to the network!

Re:Yeah, that will work out (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444234)

Exactly. It pretty regularly screws us over in the labs since the FAA has a ban on wifi in ALL buildings. Means we simply can't use certain hardware. How are they going to work that out?

What a waste (1)

pease1 (134187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443420)

Not only is this a waste and doesn't make sense, but $15m won't be enough. There isn't a govt network admin who will want this traffic on their network and there isn't a govt security group that will allow it. That means each of these will be a new ISP connection. So does GSA get to do this, or the IT group who in the building at the time?

Something missing here? (1)

kgroombr (608645) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443432)

What I read so far says that this bill will require WiFi base stations to be installed in federal buildings. Sounds kinda useless. Does the bill to hook them up to a network come next?

Bill who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443502)

Bill Gates? Bill Clinton?

Addressing the wrong problem... (1)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443532)

While WiFi in these areas would be useful for various reasons (welcome to 2000 guys, seriously), mandating it specifically to "free up cell phone networks" is ridiculous. Where I'm from, when you sell someone a product, it's your responsibility to verify that it works. We have these providers spewing ads all over every channel on TV, all over the internet, and constantly telling us deceptive things like "we cover 97% of all Americans." It is not our govt's job to provide cellular telephone service in federal buildings. It is the job of the cellular providers. If the service is inadequate, throw their lobbyists out on their asses until they fix it themselves, morons. This is borderline disgusting, honestly. I was paying $80 a month for wireless service (AT&T) in the center of a decent sized city and not at work, not at home, nor anywhere except right next to a tower was I able to get more than 2 bars, and don't get me started on dropped calls, LOL, even at 5 bars.

Our experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34443596)

Our $50,000 buildout gets about 14 people a day using it (40 radios in 30 locations)

read between the lines (1)

cenobyte40k (831687) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443738)

These guys are not idiots and they could care less about the cell phone networks. They are trying to shoehorn past a bunch of lobbyist paid shills in congress a law that will force the govt to give free Wi-Fi. If we/they play the cards right we might see more and more of this bypassing all the local and state regulations on internet and cable monopolies. Maybe drop from grid network tech in there as well.... Hmmm

Math is hard for senators. (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34443812)

Sample costs:
Labor $40/hour. 3-5 hours.
hardware: cat5, mounting brackets, PoE adapters, routers
travel costs: Maybe $800/trip, one way?
Electricity: ?
Management/project oversight: ?
shipping and handling: ? ...
I'm going to guess (low, I think) that each install would cost about $5,000. So how many wifi installs can $15 million cover? About 3,000 buildings. How many people thing that in all three branches of the federal government, they only have 3000 buildings?

What's the public interest here? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444016)

I'm confused. . . what is the compelling public interest that requires the Federal Government to 'free up cell phone networks'? Why should my taxpayer money be used to offload traffic from the cell phone networks, when people are already paying the cell providers for service? Let the cell providers ensure they have enough coverage and backhaul to fulfill the service they have sold to customers, and if they don't/can't, then haul them into court on breach of contract, false advertising, etc.

If this move would seriously save the government *money* by using its own Wifi APs and Internet connections instead of contracting out to cell providers for data services that the government itself needs, hey, I'd be all for that, but I somehow doubt that wiring *every* Federal building is going to actually *save money*.

Re:What's the public interest here? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444594)

Perhaps many gov agencies are seeing that the phone companies are failing them and want to build their own?

It on the surface seems like a good idea. Some of these buildings hold thousands of people. They are complaining of bad coverage. Also the US gov has gone for BlackBerrys and smartphones in a LARGE way. So it makes sense to build infrastructure so your IT services work does it not? Phone companies are not known to be in a large hurry to give anyone good service these days... But they are in a hurry to sell you a new data plan which they just came up with!

Which way is cheaper dragging the phone companies thru court for years and years. Meanwhile you still have crummy service. Then at the end you may loose and STILL have crummy service. OR build your own and just be done with it.

All buildings seems a bit extreem though. Maybe some sort of size limit and measurements should be done first before just tossing money in... Like say 100 or more people and less than 2 bars of coverage or something...

more leaks (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444022)

this is a great recipe for unauthorized network access and more leakage. i guess they do want more transparency.

unfortunate summary (2)

TheBeardIsRed (695409) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444098)

This is actually a piss poor summary of the bill. Having contracted on a number of government sites let me say that through no attempts at such, the buildings act as Faraday cages. Anyone who read the bill would have noticed that they're talking about using femtocells to improve reception of cell phones throughout the buildings. Additionally, considering the widespread use of Blackberry devices, this would allow them to continue to the roll out of of VoIP which has been happening (at least in both Dept of Treasury and Dept of Commerce) which would lower some of the costs associated with the mobile contracts. Considering the high number of employees with these devices and at 15 million dollar price tag, I wouldn't be surprised if this produced a cost savings within 2-5 years.

Keeping costs down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444488)

So are they just going to plop these APs on their network? Are they going to use a single preshared key for everyone? A proper wifi implementation that doesn't compromise their network security costs money so with this mandate, they should also mandate security standards. But lets see 15 million / 9000 federal buildings = $1666 per building... I guess these buildings only have 2 APs max because at Cisco or Aruba's price tag, that's all you'll be getting. Not including new security equipment and installation of all these goodies. Good Job govt, you just created the path of least resistance for hackers.

Senate shows Stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444532)

Senators aren't exactly tech savvy. This bill proves it. To the ignorant, this seems like a good idea. It would be better if they outlawed wifi + wireless access inside federal buildings. Many federal installations do not allow any wireless technology (wifi, cell, other) or portable memory or cameras due to security concerns.

Maybe the real motive is... (1)

FunPika (1551249) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444546)

To discourage people from accessing WikiLeaks on their cell phones, since it will obviously be blocked on all these Federal Wi-Fi networks. ;)

Did Cisco sponsor this ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444642)

We have VIOP at work, a manufacturing facility and it cost us dearly. For the feds or state to do this it will take lots of money, Controllers, Control software, location appliances, POE switches for access, distribution switches, core switches and access points every 50-100' in a grid for the coverage area. This is to support Cisco WIFI phones that have CCX v3/4/5/ and can use 802.11a since the 802.11b/g is just a lot of potential congestion( video or bridge links ).

In Cisco land if you cover ONE area you need 4 access points, if one of the four goes down they all go to 100mw. :-)

If you are going to do it right it will be a couple million $ per year just in Cisco maintenance contracts. :-)

Sure you can do it a cheaper way, but do you want it to work or do you want to spend the rest of your life chasing issues.

I think the politicians are thinking that WIFI is like at home, one $49 access point router and you are done. In the real world of enterprise networking that never happens. If you do you get kicked in the jimmy when the CEO is trying to connect his iPad to your single AP and someone across the street is doing a DOS on the thing or trying to hack his iPad.

The Average Joe

What the hell is congress doing? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444778)

Friggin EXTEND THE TAX CUTS, and STOP SPENDING more money.

Time is limited, and they are wasting it.

Do you house representatives not understand English?

Next up.... the The Federal Back-Orifice Act of 2010.

All federal buildings required to have computers with back orifice installed, plugged into the LAN, not blocked by Firewall, with a published IP address, username, and password, to help reduce load on Internet service provider proxy servers and improve government oversight.

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