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FCC Member Copps In Favor of Municipal WiFi

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the best-fcc-ever dept.

Wireless Networking 188

Cryofan writes "Michael Copps, one of the five members of the FCC, spoke on the recent controversy over legislation to outlaw municipal WiFi: "I think we do a grave injustice in trying to hobble municipalities. That's an entrepreneurial approach, that's an innovative approach. Why don't we encourage that instead of having bills introduced--'Oh, you can't do this because it's interfering with somebody's idea of the functioning of the marketplace...a municipality is a democratically run institution. They can make their own decisions. They don't need the Bells. They don't need the Administration, and they don't need me telling them what kind of decision they should be making.'"

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I'm mixfused (5, Funny)

Attackman (95672) | more than 9 years ago | (#11849948)

Am I supposed to like these guys now? It's rare they say anything that I agree with. Who knows, maybe this cat is the silent minority that doesn't want the broadcast flag and strongly supports boobs on TV.

This "cat" is a "Democrat," not a "Republican" (3, Informative)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11849964)

2 of the 5 FCC members are Demcrats. 3 are Republicans.

Re:This "cat" is a "Democrat," not a "Republican" (4, Insightful)

tealtalon (714179) | more than 9 years ago | (#11849982)

I am ignorant on the actual workings of the FCC, but this strikes me as odd. How can a panel of 5 people, with political party ties, have a say over what can and cannot be broadcast or seen in this country.
This just strikes me as terribly wrong in a very basic way.

Re:This "cat" is a "Democrat," not a "Republican" (5, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850021)

The FCC is provided certain authority to exercise controls over broadcast and telecommunications media. This is provided by Congress in an effort to provide some level of regulation in the public interest. Members of the FCC are appointed by the president and approved by the Senate. They enforce limits on what can be said based on Congressional approval and court decisions.

Note that the opinions of even "predictable" members of the commissioners can be unpredictable. Powell recently said that he does not believe that the FCC has or should have the authority to regulate cable or satellite TV and radio. Despite being accused of being in the pocket of the companies over which he holds power, he has also come out in favor of time-shifting (once he got a TiVo), something that has rankled the heads of some media companies. Predicting what the FCC is going to do is like predicting how the Supreme Court will rule: you can get close most of the time, but you can never quite be sure.

The FCC is provided certain authority ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850044)

The FCC is provided certain authority to exercise controls over broadcast and telecommunications media.

Where did the FCC derive such authority? Please trace this lineage from the constitution as I haven't read it.

Re:The FCC is provided certain authority ... (1)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850112)

From congress.

Re:The FCC is provided certain authority ... (5, Informative)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850139)

More specifically, Congress created the FCC in 1934 (from the Radio Act of 1927) and the FCC derives whatever authority it has from congress. The FCC has been known to, at least according to some in congress, overstep their authority. You won't find every agency in the Constitution but you will find the means to create an agency and bestow authority upon that agency.

Re:The FCC is provided certain authority ... (5, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850151)

Congress created them based on interstate commerce clause. One of the few uses of the clause that actually makes sense. Can you imagine what the US would be like if you couldn't operate a radio you bought in Missouri in Kansas because they use different base frequencies? Or if you were in Kansas City and you'd have to have two radios in your car for the drive across the border from KCMO to KCKS because Kansas ruled that it was illegal to receive broadcasts from Missouri while in Kansas? (hey, just like Canada and US satellite TV!) Or if Kansas ruled that interference with their radio waves was illegal and started taking Missouri stations to court for broadcasting on channels that interfered with their uses of the frequency?

Even on the subject of regulating what appears on those frequencies is within this scope. If Kansas rules against any nudity, foul language, or unwed mothers are to appear on TV, and Missouri allows a broadcast Playboy channel, whose job is it to build the lead wall between the two in order to keep the smut out of Kansas?

Re:This "cat" is a "Democrat," not a "Republican" (1)

Madcapjack (635982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850262)

The airwaves are public domain. They are leased to companies on the condition that their broadcasts make some minium contribution to the public's welfare. This is reasonable, since radio spectrum is a seriously limited resource.

Limited my ass (1)

KtHM (732769) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850340)

It's only limited the way they've got it set up. There's no reason that, with today's technology, we couldn't split it up a hundred times more than it is. But then everyone could get a cheap radio station, and we wouldn't want that, would we?

Re:This "cat" is a "Democrat," not a "Republican" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850008)

In other news:

- Michael has new toy-boy
- Slashdot full of liberal cunts
- Condi Rice voted "Hott Pussy 2005" by the American Basement Wankers Union

Re:This "cat" is a "Democrat," not a "Republican" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850312)

it's a boy-toy, retard.

Re:This "cat" is a "Democrat," not a "Republican" (2, Insightful)

Handpaper (566373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850142)

2 of the 5 FCC members are Democrats. 3 are Republicans.

What does that have to do with the price of fish?
Are these people dues-paying members of these parties, or do they just tend to vote that way (in elections)?
What kind of Democrat/Republican are they? Slashdot groupthink (as I see it) seems to be (broadly) old-style, small-government Republicanism, as opposed to the policies of the current US administration, formed from the current Republican party.

To explain further, I live in the UK, which currently has a government formed by the 'New Labour' party. Historically, the Labour party has been Socialist in ideology, born as it was from the union movement. Yet this government has gone further down the road of privatisation, especially of public services, than the previous, nominally Capitalist, Conservative party ever dreamed of. The party name no longer tells the whole story, if indeed, it ever did.

Labelling somebody as 'Democrat' or 'Republican', or for the UK, 'Labour', 'Conservative' or 'Liberal Democrat' (a party name that could use some work), is not particularly helpful and merely serves to polarise and oversimplify politics. It gives no indication of the character or philosophy of the person concerned.

Unless, of course, they are but lackeys of the current or former administration, in which case, look to the politician giving the orders.

Re:This "cat" is a "Democrat," not a "Republican" (4, Insightful)

abulafia (7826) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850257)

What does that have to do with the price of fish?

Pie.

Are these people dues-paying members of these parties, or do they just tend to vote that way (in elections)?

They are government officials with publically declared party allegiance.

What kind of Democrat/Republican are they? Slashdot groupthink (as I see it) seems to be (broadly) old-style, small-government Republicanism, as opposed to the policies of the current US administration, formed from the current Republican party.

I can see why it looks that way, from the outside. I think Slashdot groupthink is naive libertarian (small l; continental types would call it 'liberalism') in the way you mean, except when that means that some scum sucking profiteer might win; then the horde is pro-"justice". Really, generally much more 'liberal' than the U.S. at large, and not that different than other countries. The US is shifting slightly harsh-authoritarian, rather than touchy-feely authoritarian, which is a shame. I don't want to move countries that much.

Labelling somebody as 'Democrat' or 'Republican', or for the UK, 'Labour', 'Conservative' or 'Liberal Democrat' (a party name that could use some work), is not particularly helpful and merely serves to polarise and oversimplify politics. It gives no indication of the character or philosophy of the person concerned.

Actually, it does, here in the US. There's quite a bit more of a culture of block-voting, support-the-platform, even-if-it-is-wrong here than in England or many other Euro countries. I could philosophize on why, but will desist. Suffice to say, partisan politics are very entrenched at this point.

Unless, of course, they are but lackeys of the current or former administration, in which case, look to the politician giving the orders.

Now you're catching on. The worst part is, the Demos are starting to become the same way, out of self-defense. Which, of course, they have to.

I hate both of them just about equally. Too bad they're spiraling off into heavily optimized fuck-the-world politics.

Re:This "cat" is a "Democrat," not a "Republican" (2, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850574)

The US is shifting slightly harsh-authoritarian, rather than touchy-feely authoritarian, which is a shame. I don't want to move countries that much.

Give it a bit of time, first. One of the natural balancing mechanisms in our system seems to be that once one party is in charge, they inevitably over-reach and fall out of favor. Even as I support our President and believe in the foreign policy quite strongly (and note that I say this to establish my bias, not as some sort of subtle request to be "corrected" as some knee-jerkers seem inevitably to intrepret that as...), I see a lot of signs this is happening on domestic issues quite a bit. The polls and my general sense is that the President, for better or for worse, is not convincing people there is a Social Security problem. They're over-reaching on "decency" issues that really only a few loud people care about. A side effect of all this stuff in the Middle East is that in another year or so I expect people to start being able to ask whether we really need all this abusive airline security and other Patriot-Act-esque other things without it being political suicide.

The pendulum swings. The only reason it seems hopeless right now is that the Democratic Party itself seems to be dying, but that's ultimately not a big deal. The interests it represents aren't going anywhere and something will effectively replace it. (I'm still on the fence as to whether it will bear the name "Democratic Party"... it's still not looking good, but in the end it's of little consequence.) Were it not for that it might already have started to swing back. Hang tight for a bit.

(But brace for 2006; I see no reason to believe that the Dems aren't going to lose yet more seats and they are already nearly out of time to put into motion the necessary changes to avert that outcome. But "the worst" is over, I think, in most regards; I don't think we're going to get much more authoritarian. Right now our problem is the ways in which both parties are happy to sell us out, like patent issues and the way that "small government" seems to be MIA.)

Re:I'm mixfused (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850046)

Am I supposed to like these guys now? It's rare they say anything that I agree with. Who knows, maybe this cat is the silent minority that doesn't want the broadcast flag and strongly supports boobs on TV

Reading the FCC board?

Muni WiFi OK

Boobs on TV not OK

Surfing pr0n over Muni WiFi ?

"Officer, that horrible man is looking at women's bare ankles on a computer, over the Municipal Wireless! Oh, I'm so shocked, I've a good mind to write my a letter to my ultra conservative congressional representative!"
"Lady ... that's him looking at the computer and rubbing his crotch."

OT: Re:I'm mixfused (4, Funny)

ThisIsFred (705426) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850068)

Why don't they require something useful, like a boob-cast flag? Then I could set my DVR to only record shows with the BCF set to 'TRUE'.

Re:OT: Re:I'm mixfused (1)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850217)

Better yet, someone should implement a boob-bit for TCP/IP. That way, I could sniff only the network packets I really want.

Re:OT: Re:I'm mixfused (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850569)

Watch out for false positives though. (not if i would have anything against shemales, i just don't wanna SEE them naked)

Re:OT: Re:I'm mixfused (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850485)

Why don't they require something useful, like a boob-cast flag?
Then I could set my DVR to only record shows with the BCF set to 'TRUE'.


They already did, it is called the v-chip [fcc.gov] -- almost all tv's manufactured since 2000 have a v-chip, almost all programming contains v-chip readable flags. The v-chip flag isn't applied to news or live sports, so you would not have automatically grabbed Janet's teat, but otherwise just about every broadcast program is flagged.

But of course, having a technical solution to this "indecency" problem is no solution at all, the real goal of the people behind the "decency" brouhaha is to control the content of the airwaves. The v-chip gives control to the owner of the TV, not the owners of the tv broadcasters. So, we'll be sure to pass more laws restricting contaact and pretend that we are really legislating decency and morality.

Re:I'm mixfused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850306)

The The Whitehouse [whitehouse.com] has an interesting comment on this.

first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11849950)

coming to you from a municipal wifi that i helped set up.

Funny how none of this would apply... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11849952)

...if he was talking about indecency.

He does speak about it... (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850090)

Look him up on google, he says he wants to RULE on indecency. Right now the rules are so vague hey have no way to set precedence and he wants to do just that.

I say its about time people work on rules that are enforceable and not just something on a whim..

Re:Funny how none of this would apply... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850402)

The FCC has limited juristiction for community-television on cable.

If you look at the Community stations in San Francisco and NY, you'll see things like a naked guy riding a bicycle, and other 'indecent' programs.

IMichael? (5, Funny)

XanC (644172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11849954)

Is he an Apple product, or does he just chat online a lot?

Either way, hardcore!

Re:IMichael? (2, Funny)

Temporal (96070) | more than 9 years ago | (#11849996)

I thought he was a COM interface at first.

Re:IMichael? (1)

winstonmeister (863683) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850054)

I can tell you're neither a Mac user nor an Apple watcher. The true believers know the i is *always* lower-case. ;)

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11849960)

Wait...someone from the FCC is making sense? They want to allow something rather than side with big business??!? Up is down left is right...nothing maes sens anymore.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850223)

especially that last clause

YES!!!! (3, Insightful)

Chaos750 (854562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11849967)

Finally, a politician that makes sense!

That can only mean he's a robot. Oh well, I for one welcome our logical clear-thinking robot overlords, and wish them luck in getting rid of the current government =)

Re:YES!!!! (1)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850017)

Well, his name is IMichael, so he might be a robot.

Re:YES!!!! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850168)

His real name is R. Daneel Olivaw, but we aren't supposed to know about that yet.

Re:YES!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850544)

Finally, a politician that makes sense!

Pfft...Like that will get him anywhere. Maybe chief editor for Slashdot. Can he spell?

Be still my heart .... (4, Informative)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 9 years ago | (#11849968)

Why don't we encourage that instead of having bills introduced--'Oh, you can't do this because it's interfering with somebody's idea of the functioning of the marketplace...a municipality is a democratically run institution. They can make their own decisions. They don't need the Bells. They don't need the Administration, and they don't need me telling them what kind of decision they should be making.'

Someone in the federal government actually understands the role of the federal government? Sad to say, he probably won't last long.

He does a lot.. (4, Informative)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850038)

Search google for him:

http://www.google.com/search?q=fcc+copps&start=0 &s tart=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org. mozilla:en-US:official

Against Big media, looks out for the indi media and is looking to actually SET RULES instead of "notions" of what is wrong.

Re:Be still my heart .... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850039)

Yeah..it's too bad the liberal elites have brainwashed most people to think that the federal government should play the role of mommy, daddy and nanny.

You're right, it's sad how little states rights and the principles of federalism still exist today.

Re:Be still my heart .... (2, Informative)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850069)

Uhm.. so your saying that someone who says the government isn't here to control municipalities is a bad thing?

He is saying the municipalities are allowed to do whatever they wish. You have the right to vote and make your voice heard within that municipality so if your against it speak your voice..

otherwise just get out of the way..

Re:Be still my heart .... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850079)

I think his problem is with the left only championing federalism when it suits them. Which makes them as bad as the right in this area.

Re:Be still my heart .... (1)

thank-u-for-sharing (843287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850149)

This is freaking me out, man! It must be some kind of reverse psycology conspiracy b*llshit, man! I'm outta here!

Cynicism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850174)

Your cynicism is truly mighty. :)

make up your mind! (4, Interesting)

museumpeace (735109) | more than 9 years ago | (#11849983)

either wifi is a public infrastructure like roads and rails or its not. if it is, the "state" in its more general sense has a power and an obligation to see that this data road of the radio frequencies reaches all the citizens and it has the power to collect our taxes to make sure the infrastructure is adequate in capacity and properly maintained.
if its NOT, then let the moneygrubbing telco's sharpen their knives and move in.
but as I road-warrior-drive about, I don't want to be disconnected at every jurisdictional and regulatory boundary such as state lines and city limits.

Re:make up your mind! (5, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850060)

In one of those cases the government shouldn't be telling communities not to build local wifi coverage unless that government already has plans to do it for them, and in the other case the government shouldn't be telling communities not to build local wifi coverage under any circumstances.

If it is supposed to be a free market issue then the communities should have every right to compete with the telcos, since that's what the whole idea of a free market economy is based on.

Re:make up your mind! (1)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850192)

I hope you mean "regular joe schmoes" when mentioning "communities" and not "the local government", because the free market economy was certainly NOT intended to have the government compete with business on non-essential services to the public...that's wrong on so many levels.

Re:make up your mind! (1)

KtHM (732769) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850380)

Are you trying to say WiFi is a non-essential service? HERETIC!

Re:make up your mind! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850426)

that's wrong on so many levels.

No, it's only wrong to paranoid anti-socialism-freaks like yourself. There's a communist under every rock and around every corner! Better get your gun! They're after you!

Re:make up your mind! (1)

racermd (314140) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850505)

This is Slashdot - I can't believe you used the word "non-essential" to describe internet service! How DARE you, sir!

In all seriousness, however, this latest comment has only reaffirmed my faith in government agencies to do the Right Thing (tm). But only enough to be dashed by their next policy decision, whatever that might be. I hate when they get my hopes up just enough to string me along and crush me later...

Re:make up your mind! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850243)

If it is supposed to be a free market issue then the communities should have every right to compete with the telcos, since that's what the whole idea of a free market economy is based on.
The problem is that any government-run agency is going to be funded at least in part by tax dollars, which allows them to undercut the prices which may be offered by a private competitor. Of course, the prices aren't really lower: the difference is being made up in taxes taken in by the government.

I would definitely support a city (or state, or whoever) setting up a government-managed, but independently funded, company to roll out a wifi infrastructure. In other words, the government tells it what to do ("blanket the city with wifi") and the company determines, with no tax backing, how to do that. It would be fair for the government to start this company out with a sizable low-interest loan, as long as it's clear that (a) that loan has to be repaid; and (b) there will be no more "free money" in the future. Part (b) is especially important, as we are seeing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, because of the "implied bailout guarantee:" if the company goes into bankruptcy, its position implies that the government will bail it out, so banks and other lenders will issue loans at incredibly low interest. You can read more about the ongoing problems with Fred and Fan elsewhere if you want more details.

I think this would, in fact, be a really excellent idea, since it would honestly spur competition. Covering an entire city with wifi would be really expensive, and without tax revenues to back it up, the quality of service would be pretty poor: probably not much better than good dialup. So "power users," people who do more than surf the occasional page and send email, would be able to sign up with Verizon (or someone else) for high-speed access. Verizon would be able to cover a smaller area, and because they're offering higher quality they could charge more too. Payoff for Verizon, and while the government's micro-telco will never be very profitable, that's okay; they aren't supposed to be profitable.

But I don't think this will happen, simply because most people seem to fall into two groups: either "Keep the government out of everything" or "Let the government run everything." There's an awfully big excluded middle there, but there aren't many people who seem to realize that.

Re:make up your mind! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850130)

either wifi is a public infrastructure like roads and rails or its not... if its NOT, then let the moneygrubbing telco's sharpen their knives and move in.

as I road-warrior-drive about, I don't want to be disconnected at every jurisdictional and regulatory boundary such as state lines and city limits.


And how would you like to have no connection at all? Because right now, this is what you will get from the telcos. Besides, once the telcos move in, nothing will prevent you from using their services.

Re:make up your mind! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850224)

The reason that municipalities are making their own WiFi networks is that the the private industry is not moving in.

Re:make up your mind! (2, Interesting)

museumpeace (735109) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850264)

Its not an area where laws are consistent except to the extent that they have been consistently manipulated by/for the benefit of large companies. Analogies to railroads are apt but dangerous: a century and a half ago, our government knew it needed rails badly to make commerce efficient and mobility of the population easier. IT GAVE AWAY LAND AND GRANTED OR TOLERATED MONOPOLIES just to meet those objectives and the Goulds, ROCKEFELLERs and a host of other robber barons saw their chance. The debate about whether the public good is better served [netcom.com] by public investiment or the enlightened greed of private enterpise [endgame.org] is nearly as old [tripod.com] as our repbulic [endgame.org] . We the wireless public who will be ill served or well served by the decision about how the new infrastructure will be financed ought to be screaming at our congressmen right now. The risk/reward model for investiment in this technology is very different from the infrastructure developments that set the precedents for industrial lobbying in utilities. The cost of WiFi set up is low enough that many municipalities have it on their adgendas. Cities with money to burn are practially nonexistent in this country and still many are trying to be the first or best to enable a wirles citizenry. With costs that low and benefits that manifest, it is obscene that we as tax payers or wireless users would sit by and let corporations meter and profit from a service we could easily afford ourselves.
Where the analogy to older utility development may hold is uniformity of service: is local government, perhaps with guidance from standards bodies, or is private industry, jockying as it must for advantage over its internal competition and alternate services, the better way to provide a seamless or the most uniform WiFi service? Rail commerce did not take off until all the rail barons agreed on a rail guage that allowed cars to move from one carriers territory to another. Similarly, I expect WiFi won't be more than a convenience for pockets business travelers until WiFi is uniformly [and securely] supported in urban areas and the travel corridors between them. I want to be getting and sending my VOIP and email CONTINUOUSLY all the way from Boston to NY to DC and on my train ride to work in the morning...Are Verizon and SBC and their ilk going to cooperate on billing so I can do that?

Re:make up your mind! (1)

Petrox (525639) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850362)

Why not? Either as you're roving there's free wife, or there's not. The fact that it's not the same everywhere realistically doesn't burden you at all.

Different and creative approaches to different goods and needs is what a federalist, representative republic is all about.

Re:make up your mind! (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850428)

Free wife? No thanks I'll pass.

If only there was free girlfriends somewhere. I'd rove over there quick.

Re:make up your mind! (1)

heby (256691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850378)

I don't want to be disconnected at every jurisdictional and regulatory boundary such as state lines and city limits.

it's been a while since i was on a road trip in the US but at least here in Canada, roads don't end at municipal, privincial or even the southern border. apparently municipalities and provinces and even countries are able to communicate with each other about connecting their traffic grids seamlessly, so why should it not work for a communications network?
since telcos are in it for the money, they will cover exclusively areas that make them money - densly populated areas or areas with rich customers. that's why utilities in many places are still public and where they aren't, they are heavily regulated - to provide fair and guaranteed access for all (or most) people. that said, no politician would take the responsibility for spending 95% of the money to reach the last 5% of the population either...

Re:make up your mind! (2, Informative)

NaruVonWilkins (844204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850434)

Excuse me - rails aren't public infrastructure. The local system through Seattle is owned by BNSF.

Yeah (1)

blobzorz (864386) | more than 9 years ago | (#11849985)

i hate the FCC, just let me be me... I forgot the rest of the words --- http://onticfusion.sytes.net/ [sytes.net]

Yes (4, Insightful)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 9 years ago | (#11849992)

I love reading about this; this idea that the airwaves ultimatly belong to the public. The idea that the public can't use their own airwaves because a company wants to make money off of it just chaps my hide.

Perhaps men like this will bring the FCC towards the direction that it needs to be heading. Who knows... some day all of the public airwaves will actually be used to benifit the public.

Re:Yes (3, Insightful)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850027)

VOTE.

Simple as that. VOTE. Not because of looks, appearences or if someone has a twang or not, but vote because someone supports democracy, freedom and the american way.

Executive powers decide who leads the FCC, but you can put that executive in.

Re:Yes (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850376)

So which one do we vote for - the Republican one who will appoint an FCC leader who wishes to fine broadcasters based on morality or the Democratic one who will apoint one who wishes to turn TV into a cheap nanny?

Re:Yes (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850462)

That is absolutely the lamest dig at the democrats Ive ever heard in my life.

Re:Yes (2, Informative)

DoraLives (622001) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850281)

The idea that the public can't use their own airwaves because a company wants to make money off of it just chaps my hide.

Concur.

But there's hope. We're now able to get all our weather data directly from the NWS office of our choosing, as opposed to having to get it from some bogus subscription service [accuweather.com] that just regurgitates our own data that we had already bought and paid for, back at us.

Maybe things will shake out alright with wireless?

Gotta Love Slashdot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11849995)

Slashbots love to hate the government, and rail about its continuing intrusion into our privacy, our data, our bodies. Expansion of government powers is usually booed here.

But hey, now that they're offering Wi-Fi (paid from our tax dollars) and stifling industry that can do it better than cheaper, we're all for it. Hooray!

Re:Gotta Love Slashdot (1)

alw53 (702722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850040)

Amen, once the government gets involved they will drive all the private operators out of business.
Just like they did the subways in New York, which were started by people brave enough to risk their own money rather than everyone else's.

Re:Gotta Love Slashdot (1)

ThisIsFred (705426) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850045)

Just in case anyone was wondering, this wasn't me posting as AC (and trying to stir up trouble again). ;o)

Re:Gotta Love Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850050)

Actually, I'd have a problem with it, if it was the NATIONAL government implementing Wi-Fi, but it's local municipalities that are doing it.

Re:Gotta Love Slashdot (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850052)

Privatization is not by its nature "better and cheaper"; it is only "better and cheaper" if it actually is. If it is in comparison to the municipal government, that government will eventually shift toward privatization- if it then becomes worse and more expensive, that government will reclaim it and collectivize private suppliers. This is a matter for policy decision, not a damned law one way or the other. Aside, government provision, assuming adequate tax funds and appropriate use, should stimulate its economy and increase the wealth of its populace equal to or over the former levels.

Re:Gotta Love Slashdot (5, Insightful)

jay-be-em (664602) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850080)

There's a huge difference between the federal government spying on its citizens and a local municipality making decisions about how to treat wifi net access.

Personally I'm often anti-gov't, but I'm quite pro-gov't when the gov't is decentralized and decisions are made at the local level.

Re:Gotta Love Slashdot (4, Insightful)

DuckofDeath87 (816504) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850110)

You know, IMHO, most slashdoters don't really want there to be less government. I think that most of us here accually just hate big companies, and just do not like it when the government sides with companies on anything, which is the norm.

Or maybe it is just that comapanies are above the government on the /. hate scale.

Re:Gotta Love Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850166)

It has a lot to do with the type of government.

Local governments should and do have more freedom than the federal government in many regards simply because they are less able to repress their people.

I figured it out! (1)

SoulMaster (717007) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850007)

Clearly there are alternate-universe versions of Copps and Powell running around doing good for the country!

Has anyone checked them for goatees?

Today in Bizarro Land (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850020)

We're happy Microsoft won a court motion. http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/05/03/04/2016235.shtml ?tid=109&tid=123 [slashdot.org]

Justice is served in the American court system. http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/05/03/04/0531204.shtml ?tid=155&tid=123 [slashdot.org]

Half of Slashdot is mad at Apple. http://apple.slashdot.org/apple/05/03/04/138234.sh tml?tid=123&tid=153&tid=3 [slashdot.org]

The FCC is our friend. http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/05/03/04/1828200.shtml ?tid=153&tid=187&tid=123 [slashdot.org]

What happened to predictability?

Re:Today in Bizarro Land (2, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850091)

Half of Slashdot is mad at Apple. http://apple.slashdot.org/apple/05/03/04/138234.sh tml?tid=123&tid=153&tid=3

Oh we shouldn't be mad at Apple. They are being businessmen even if they are being assholes. I don't expect anything less. Who I am pissed at is the fucking judge who decided that he can determine who and who isn't a journalist.

Sorry but journalists shouldn't be required to work for a "commercial entity" in order to be considered one. That only gives protections to the employees of media conglomorates who are known to be influenced by threats on their jobs...

The leakers broke the dumb law that was passed by lawmakers that had big IT business in their pockets not the journalists.

OFFTOPIC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850395)

Moderate parent as such.

Re:Today in Bizarro Land (1)

Eslyjah (245320) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850441)

Uh, even "real" journalists can be subpoenaed and required to divulge sources. If they refuse, it's contempt of court. Journalists aren't "special" in any legal sense.

Re:Today in Bizarro Land (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850206)

Well, according to the BBC, today (4th March) is the day Charlie Chaplin got knighted [bbc.co.uk] . This is clearly Slashdot's way of commemorating it.

Re:Today in Bizarro Land (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850260)

I'm still predictable, you insensitive clod!!

Re:Today in Bizarro Land (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850270)

In Soviet Russia, Slashdot predicts YOU!

(Was that predictable enough?)

Unlicensed (5, Insightful)

grozzie2 (698656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850064)

The fcc should have only one comment to this whole issue. 802.11 is unlicensed. As long as the equipment in use falls within the emissioins requirements of unlicensed, what part of the word 'unlicensed' do the rest of the levels of government not understand. They also need to remind the rest of the various levels of government, wifi is a service based on radio transmissions. FCC rulings trump all other levels of government in this area.

Hell just froze over (3, Insightful)

Nonillion (266505) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850123)

It's amazing when the FCC actually gets something, now if we can get them to reconsider the spectrum polluting BPL decision and that pesky broadcast flag.

Another view. (1)

cwsulliv (522390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850141)

Well sure, it'd be nice to have "free" wireless access (at the taxpayers' expense). But does anyone doubt that in many (if not most) localities the access will be filtered down to the PG-13 level, to "protect the children". And how many commercial ISPs will survive as an alternative in the face of this "free" competition?

Thanks but no thanks - I'd rather pay and have an unfiltered feed.

Re:Another view. (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850379)

It costs money to filter. It would be cheaper to offer filtering software to the few prudes who would want it.

Re:Another view. (1)

NaruVonWilkins (844204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850425)

Library feeds aren't filtered in *my* city. Perhaps you should move here.

damm! (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850145)

The quarter fell edge on today!

Usually, when the FCC passes jugement, it's usually for SIGs (special interest groups) that are sponsored by either big bells, or politicos.

But today, Vonage got the better of a baby bell, and now THIS! ^.^

I'm right proud of our political system.. It maybe creaky and downright questionable at times, but when it does work, DAMM, nice things do happen!

Relatively Happy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850210)

It does feel nice when these things happen, doesn't it. But the fact that it is such a rare and precious good feeling should tell you something.

We tell ourselves all the time that we have a country with a system that works better than some others. But heck, stuff goes right *sometimes* in North Korea too! So why do I feel so happy about an incident where the "justice" system got something right?

Realistic self-image is a nice concept, if it weren't so unpatriotic.

Re:damm! (1)

MauMan (252382) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850463)

Don't worry by Monday they'll say something that will take the edge off of your happiness. Sorry for being the 'reaper.

Have a nice weekend!

It's an old story. (4, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850194)


People who make money doing things the old way don't want anyone doing things a new way.

Those who made money with horses did not want cars to be introduced.

Decades ago, the painter's unions tried to get the newly introduced paint rollers ruled illegal. They were afraid people would paint their own houses.

The big companies use VOIP to move your long distance calls around. They want private VOIP to be outlawed so they can make a huge profit doing the same thing themselves.

Aggregating a huge number of users with Municipal WiFi is far more efficient than having each person have a separate account with an ISP. The ISPs want Municipal and private WiFi to be made illegal so they can make a huge profit doing same thing themselves.

It's "Please, please, please corrupt the government so that I can make easy money."

Re:It's an old story. (-1, Troll)

geekee (591277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850250)

"Aggregating a huge number of users with Municipal WiFi is far more efficient than having each person have a separate account with an ISP. The ISPs want Municipal and private WiFi to be made illegal so they can make a huge profit doing same thing themselves."

Telcoms will be able to do wireless far more efficiently. That's what these people understand. The fact that govts are even considering muni WiFi just shows how inefficient govt is when WiMax is right around the corner. These local govts. wouldn't understand a link budget if it punched them in the face.

Government must give proper change a push. (3, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850339)


I agree that telecoms can do WiFi more efficiently. But they won't unless the government mandates it. Muni wireless is a way to get started. Eventually, there will be WiFi everywhere, and we will use VOIP for our cell phones. The cell phone towers will become WiFi towers.

Along the way, there will be less profit for some people, who will fight change.

!!!WOW (0, Offtopic)

Tufriast (824996) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850196)

I don't watch TV , so I could care less about the broadcast flag, as I can build a PC to do that job. I also expect a variety of PVR broadcast flag bypassing machines to be available sometime soon. I do however care about the freedom of the web. I am glad someone upstairs isn't thinking with greed on their mind. It's about time they got some balls!

Re:!!!WOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850489)

Well, if you can care less, then by all means do so. And once you're doing so, it will be appropriate to claim you "couldn't care less."

Please remember proper terminology for the future. It's good for you.

Bow to your new wireless overlords (4, Insightful)

geekee (591277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850211)

"Oh, you can't do this because it's interfering with somebody's idea of the functioning of the marketplace...a municipality is a democratically run institution. They can make their own decisions. They don't need the Bells. They don't need the Administration, and they don't need me telling them what kind of decision they should be making."

The point of a marketplace is that it provides freedom to choose products and services you want. The Soviet Union was good at showing a govt. controlled economy was not a successful venture. Here is another such example. WiFi is a shitty solution for community wireless networks. WiMAX will be out soon, and is a far better solution for this problem. These Muni WiFi projects are ill conceived and expensive. I know this, but if I'm not in the majority in my community, I'm stuck paying for it. This is not freedom, but tyranny of the majority. I'd rather people voted with their dollars in a marketplace as to what kinds of wireless services they want.

Re:Bow to your new wireless overlords (1)

nmos (25822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850385)

WiMAX will be out soon, and is a far better solution for this problem.


In case you havn't noticed the pattern yet there's ALLWAYS something better just around the corner. Then it comes out and is expensive, unreliable, and often a bit of a disappointment performance wise. Then the tech. matures and comes down in price but by the there's something even better just around the corner. Lather, rinse, repeat.

These Muni WiFi projects are ill conceived and expensive. I know this, but if I'm not in the majority in my community, I'm stuck paying for it.


Yeah, that's how democracy works. If you really think you're smarter than everyone else maybe you should run for office?

Re:Bow to your new wireless overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850453)

Or maybe, just maybe, I shouldn't be forced to pay for something I don't want just because the majority deems that I should.

Note: try reading the end of the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution to see the clear uncostitutionality of this.

All I can say is... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850230)

Bully pulpit mode on:

It will be a cold day in hell when I allow my tax dollars go to pay for some cheapskate to DL porn for free.

The communist manifesto is alive and well on /.! It's the governments job to do everything for us! There are about a thousand REAL issues that could use any extra municipality money LONG before providing free porn.

Get your damn priorities straight you bunch of ivory tower hippies!

Bully Pulpit mode Off:

But you know, the bully does make some sense. We have come a long way from the government providing our comminications and our fuel, I'm not sure why we would start going backwards on this issue.

Especially an issue that is far down on the radar of most people. I mean, why does the government not provide free TV? Free Phone? Free Electricity or Gas? Well free in that our tax rate will of course go up to pay for it all. But shouldn;t everything be free and equally divided among everyone?!?!? Whoops, were back to communism again, I'm sorry...

Re:All I can say is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850414)

Exactely my opinion. Muni's should concentrate on what they have been empowered to do by us.

Don't care if he's a Dem or Repub... (1)

rdean400 (322321) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850328)

We need more guys with this mindset in Washington.

When municipal networks attack.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850356)

What is this inane fascination with Municipal Wifi? These people can barely run their own Win32 networks and now you're screaming for them to deliver Wifi services? How many places to the right would you like them to the move the decimal place of your current tax liability so you can surf pr0n on state of the art 49Mhz systems? You mean it's bad that we plugged in this D-Link AP to our 911 segment? Would someone please post a M$/Linux TCO article so we can return to normal?

Re:When municipal networks attack.... (2, Interesting)

NaruVonWilkins (844204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850416)

Actually, the cost to consumer of a municipal broadband system is expected to be quite a bit lower than the cost of a private system - the private groups have been convicted, more than once, of price fixing, and they continue to do so.

Tax dollars for free wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11850397)

Come on. Wifi from a muni is just bad spending of tax payers money. My city had better spend more money on roads than spend my tax dollars on something that most people use to surf porn on.

Just to start a little discussion... (3, Interesting)

Marran Gray (722447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11850542)

As a fun little thought exercise, think about municipal wireless and liability. For that matter, think about any public wireless and liability. We can probably dispose with reasonable expectation of privacy, since it's an open network, but what about spoofing? What if someone hijacks the municipal net and does bad things to the users? What if someone (locally) takes down the municipal net and (locally) sets up a phony replacement?

Now, think about the differences between a network maintained by the government and one maintained by a private interest. Discuss.

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