Nice Wireless Spectrum You've Got, There. Shame if Anything Should Happen to It.


Your daily dose of worrisome congressional meddling comes from John Dvorak, who learns that public wi-fi is going to be smothered in its crib by a new law.

The only possible positive here is that the ban on Wi-Fi will not begin until January 2012, but in the meantime most of the available public spectrum—including the unlicensed 2.3-GHz to 2.9-GHz spectrum—is scheduled to be auctioned off long before 2012. Anyone caught using unlicensed devices will be subject to "a fine not to exceed $100,000 and indeterminate jail time not to exceed five years."

The so-called Telecommunications Restructuring Act of 2008 was passed almost unanimously as a joint resolution based on SB 40108 and HR 17996-1. Essentially the free unlicensed spectrum is going to be auctioned off starting with the 2.3-GHz to 2.9-GHz frequencies, followed by the spectrum around 5 GHz and elsewhere.

The only people who voted against it: Ted Kennedy and Ron Paul. Dvorak's conversation with a supporter was mighty depressing.

Hastert actually said that the days of an unlicensed telecom "free-for-all" were over if for no other reason than that the spectrum was too valuable. When the Wi-Fi commentary began, he actually had the gall to say that the public was better served by the wireless phone companies and—get this—"V-DO." He was corrected by the Pricewaterhouse analyst, who told him it was EV-DO, and you got the sense that Hastert thought it had something to do with video, hence his calling it V-DO. Cripes.

By all means, let's hand the spectrum over to these people.

Update: The joke's on me. Happy April Fool's Day, one day late.

NEXT: The School Crotch Inspector

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  1. We can guarantee you that not a single armored division will get done over for fifteen bob a week.

  2. What the fuck now?

  3. Where can I get one of these V-DO players?

  4. What the sweet son of a bitch fuck? Making “unlicensed” Wi-Fi illegal? Are you freakin’ kidding me? How did this pass through so quietly?

    Talk about being technologically clueless. This absolves Ted Stevens from being singled out…because this shows they are all completely technologically illiterate.

  5. Weigel it’s an April fools joke you dolt.

  6. Oh damn it Weigel…read all of Dvorak’s links.

    Like this one.

  7. Notice the date of Dvorak’s article. And click on the link at the bottom of it.

  8. Holy Shit!
    What a horribly realistic April Fool’s joke.

  9. The article that got me too until I realized what day it was written on. The sad thing is that it’s so realistic that I actually do expect this to happen eventually.

  10. Weigel is a na?ve, gullible, easily fooled gay man… not that there’s anything wrong with that!!

  11. D’oh!

    Satire is most effective when it’s believable.

  12. They aren’t even up that high on resolution numbers. The government isn’t that lacking in transprency yet.

    Check out what Congress actually did yesterday!

    My favorite is this:
    S.RES.495 : A resolution designating April 2008 as “Financial Literacy Month”.

  13. Since this is an April Fool’s column you shouldn’t mind the threadjack so: Where’s peachy? What happened to your precious Gators in the NIT semis? Go Bucks! We’re no. 65!!!

  14. The only people who voted against it: Ted Kennedy and Ron Paul.

    Cats, dogs, apocalypse.

  15. If we’re going to threadjack this let’s at least Monty Python-jack it, and not sport-jack it, as Python is tangentially on topic.

  16. Bring out your dead (gators).

  17. I was fooled because what else would you expect from a guy whose name sounds way too much like Hastur to be pronounced aloud?

  18. some fed –

    Are you sure that the link provided was not an April Fool’s joke as well?

    Thank Odin that Nancy has got the House of Representatives whipped into shape, addressing the concerns of the American people.

  19. J sub D-

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Federal employees and Congressmen allowed to play practical jokes on April Fool’s Day.

    But hey, Congresswoman Pelosi is doing her best to increase gas prices in order to wean us off foreign oil through…

    “Moving the United States toward greater energy independence and security, developing innovative new technologies, reducing carbon emissions, creating green jobs, protecting consumers, increasing clean renewable energy production, and modernizing our energy infrastructure, and to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for the production of renewable energy and energy conservation.”

    –(HR 3221)

    Green jobs and tax breaks for some. Higher gas prices and taxes for everyone else! (Dems aren’t as big into the mini flags.)

  20. When did Rick Ashley become a “pwned!” symbol?

  21. You know, the sad thing is this seemed very real.

  22. BakedPenguin: Apparently you are not aware of the Rickroll. Just do a search.

    I thought the added insult of the rickroll was a nice touch.

  23. Marketplace yesterday broadcast this item about the IRS sending consumer products to selected taxpayers so that they wouldn’t misspend their rebates toward paying off debt:

  24. I heard the Marketplace bit yesterday on the drive home, and I COMPLETELY fell for it. And, of course, I’m thinking “wait ’til Hit & Run gets ahold of THIS!”

    It had Robert Reich making an intelligent critique; that should’ve tipped me off.

  25. None of that holds a candle to the prank Taco Bell pulled 12 years ago when they announced that they had purchased the Liberty Bell. Took out a full page ad in the NYT.

  26. Well I guess this wraps it up for David Weigel’s credibility. Not even the slightest attempt to fact check this article. Some reporters actually WORK at their job.

    It’s sad because it makes Reason look so pathetic. I guess they have no choice but to fire him now.

  27. Did you guys delete all the files on your drives unplug your computers for internet cleaning day too?

  28. Perhaps Hastert meant EVOO.
    Perhaps he too dreams of Rachel Ray and rubber sheets.

  29. Perhaps he too dreams of Rachel Ray and rubber sheets.

    For some reason I have been dreaming of her in an SS uniform lately. Just started this week.

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