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Report Rips Government Wireless Network Effort 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the effort-is-kind-of-a-strong-word-for-it dept.
coondoggie writes with this excerpt from NetworkWorld: "Like a bunch of children in a sandbox unable and perhaps unwilling to share their toys, multiple key government agencies cannot or will not cooperate to build a collaborative wireless network. The Government Accountability Office report (PDF) issued today took aim at the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and the Treasury which had intended what's known as The Integrated Wireless Network (IWN) to be a joint radio communications system to improve communication among law enforcement agencies. However IWN, which has already cost millions of dollars, is no longer being pursued as a joint development project, the GAO said. By abandoning collaboration on a joint implementation, the departments risk duplication of effort and inefficient use of resources as they continue to invest significant resources in independent solutions. Further, these efforts will not ensure the interoperability needed to serve day-to-day law enforcement operations or a coordinated response to terrorist or other events, the GAO said."
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Report Rips Government Wireless Network Effort

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  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:42PM (#26098535) Homepage

    When I first heard of the FCC's plans for a free wireless network, I was concerned that the filtering mandate might eventually be applied to adults as well as minors. I was accused of making a "slippery slope" argument, but after reading about other countries expanding their own filtering efforts after initially limiting the filters to illegal content, I am quite convinced that the FCC's plan is a very bad idea indeed. Filtered internet and the potential displacement of commercial alternatives? No thanks. I want my Internet without filters of any kind.

    Let the spectrum go to unlicensed devices and have a network grow organically around that.

  • by spisska (796395) on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:06PM (#26098757)

    Wow. I worked on IWN in a very limited capacity for one of the bidders back in early 2005. It was pretty clear then that the whole thing was going to be a huge cluster-fuck, but it was exciting to be a part of it for a while.

    If the process continued the way it was going when I left, it is almost surely the Feds' fault. They were demanding certain requirements that were nearly impossible to engineer and didn't make much sense anyway. And the whole RFP described technology in ways that made it clear that the government folks running it were completely out of touch with the technology.

    Essentially, the Feds wanted a device or devices that were a combination of tricorders, mobile phones, and walkie-talkies, as well as a national network to run them on.

    They envisioned devices and a network that would allow primarily federal agents but also emergency first-responders to call anyone a-la a phone, push-to-talk to anyone a-la a walkie-talkie, take mug shots/scan fingerprints and get an instant identification, and pull whatever data from whatever government sources. Nationally, instantly, wirelessly, seamlessly.

    I was just a lowly proposal writer and I suspected the whole thing was impossible. The engineers I worked with knew it was impossible, but it was really impressive to watch them try to build it anyway.

    For the $10 billion the government was offering, you could understand why.

    The bidder I was contracted to, via a small consultancy, wanted to call their team the National Wireless Alliance, or NWA. We thought that was a pretty ironic name for something to be used by cops. I suggested the Intra-Continental Emergency Telenetwork, or ICE-T. My buddy proposed the Wireless Universal Telephone And Network Group.

    Among the many things I learned was that the government, and the extremely big companies that go for $10B deals with them, are utterly humorless.

    But my hat was and is definitely off to the engineers, who were putting together some really great ideas.

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