U.S. Senators Push For Wi-Fi In Federal Buildings

If there's one place you'd expect to find a Wi-Fi hotspot, it's probably within the White House. And beyond, you'd probably expect those same hotspots to be found in federal office buildings where all sorts of very important work occurs. But clearly not every building occupied by government employees is equipped with Wi-Fi. U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Mark R. Warner (D-VA) are evidently upset with having to rely on overworked 3G networks too often when doing their jobs, as they have just introduced a new bill that would require federal buildings to install small wireless base stations to free up commercial network capacity.

The goal of the bill is twofold: it would increase wireless coverage and free up essential commercial network capacity. If enacted, the legislation will help prevent dropped calls that can occur indoors and in rural areas due to poor cell phone coverage, while at the same time improve wireless network capacity by more effectively utilizing broadband wireless networks. This may be a small step at seeing just how feasible rural broadband rollouts would be, which has been a hot topic in D.C. According to Warner: "I see a great opportunity to leverage federal buildings in order to improve wireless broadband coverage at a very reasonable cost. By starting with the nearly 9,000 federal buildings owned or operated by the General Services Administration, we will be able to provide appreciable improvement in wireless coverage for consumers while also reducing some of the pressure on existing wireless broadband networks."

In addition to that, the bill would also includes two recommendations of the FCC's National Broadband Plan to streamline Federal rights-of-ways and wireless transmitter sitings to expedite the expansion of wireless and broadband infrastructure, especially in rural areas. For some reason $15 million is being set aside to complete the project; we think even Geek Squad could do it for less!

December 3, 2010

Senators Snowe, Warner Introduce Legislation to Increase Wireless Coverage

Bill would require federal buildings to install small wireless base stations to free up commercial network capacity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

John Gentzel (Snowe)
202.224.5344

Kevin Hall (Warner)
202.224.2023

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Mark R. Warner (D-VA) introduced legislation requiring the installation of small wireless base stations in all publicly accessible federal buildings in order to increase wireless coverage and free up essential commercial network capacity. If enacted, the legislation will help prevent dropped calls that can occur indoors and in rural areas due to poor cell phone coverage, while at the same time improve wireless network capacity by more effectively utilizing broadband wireless networks. This will result in more reliable and faster service for wireless consumers.

"With over 276 million wireless subscribers across our nation and growing demand for wireless broadband, it is imperative that we take steps to improve wireless communication capacity and this legislation will make measurable progress towards that goal," said Senator Snowe. "Given that approximately 60 percent of mobile Internet use and 40 percent of cell phone calls are completed indoors, utilizing technologies such as wi-fi and femtocells will dramatically improve coverage."

"I see a great opportunity to leverage federal buildings in order to improve wireless broadband coverage at a very reasonable cost. By starting with the nearly 9,000 federal buildings owned or operated by the General Services Administration, we will be able to provide appreciable improvement in wireless coverage for consumers while also reducing some of the pressure on existing wireless broadband networks," said Senator Warner.

Specifically, the legislation requires the General Services Administration (GSA) to begin installing wireless voice and data base stations, such as wi-fi hotspots and femtocells, in all publicly accessible federal buildings. As the Federal Communications Commission's National Broadband Plan highlights, most smartphones sold today have Wi-Fi capabilities, so installing mini-base stations and Wi-Fi hotspots in federal buildings would not only help improve indoor cell phone coverage, but also increase wireless network capacity. The legislation also includes two recommendations of the FCC's National Broadband Plan to streamline Federal rights-of-ways and wireless transmitter sitings to expedite the expansion of wireless and broadband infrastructure, especially in rural areas. The bill would allocate $15 million of unobligated funds from the Federal Buildings Fund for the project.
Via:  The Hill
Comments
DebbySandersGabriel 7 months ago

I thought the original intent was to have cellular service within federal buildings not just WiFi. The WiFi they installed in my federal building requires logon and is a temporary connection, log you off after short period (10 mins or so).

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