Monthly Archives: January 2017

Schatz: Municipal broadband is wasteful

Citizens Against Government Waste typically opposes the creation of government-owned broadband programs across the nation due to the wasteful nature of these networks that often duplicate and overbuild on top of existing private sector networks. However, when these systems are built, transparency and accountability are essential to prevent further waste of taxpayer dollars. The Virginia General Assembly is currently considering HB 2108, the Virginia Broadband Deployment Act, which changes the rules under which government-owned (municipal) broadband networks could be created and increases oversight once they are built.

The bill would allow local governments to create their own internal government networks to connect municipal services and schools; allow for the expansion of broadband to unserved areas in their communities (a community with less than 10/1 internet speeds); require an unserved community to issue a Request for Proposal to local broadband providers to extend services to a project area, and if no response from local providers after a certain period, permit the local government to build its own network. The bill adopts the transparency recommendations included in an October 2016 Virginia Public Auditor of Public Accounts review of the issues surrounding the Bristol Virginia Utilities Authority (BVUA) and removes the FOIA exemption for existing municipal broadband providers. The legislation also requires approval by the General Assembly before a local government can use taxpayer resources to create a network competing with private providers.

The legislation is in part a response to the problems that erupted at the Bristol municipal broadband system. In 1999, BVUA and the Bristol City Council approved the construction of a fiber optic network to enhance connections between BVUA’s eight electric substations. The network construction was later expanded to include all city offices, including City Hall, public schools, libraries, and the police and fire departments.

In 2001, the BVUA board of directors approved a study to determine the cost to provide fiber to the home to all customers throughout the utility’s service territory. Local officials believed that the community’s ability to spur economy development, including the recruitment of a defense contractor, would also apply to the expansion of broadband within the community. Indeed, Bristol was touted as an example for cities to follow for municipal broadband initiatives.

BVUA obtained nearly £124 million in federal, state, and local funding through grants and loans to implement its municipal broadband system. Unfortunately, because BVUA was exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests, and there were few internal controls over expenditures, Bristol’s municipal broadband system has gone from being a supposed model for other cities to follow to an example of corruption in government-run systems at its worst. In 2013, a criminal investigation into the authority’s accounting practices was conducted by the local sheriff’s department, resulting in the conviction and sentencing of nine individuals for various offenses, including misuse of public funds, evasion of employment taxes, failure to report employee income to the IRS, bid-rigging, procurement violations, and violations of the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act.

In October 2016, the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts released the results of an audit of the BVUA, noting that fraud happens when “internal controls are inadequate, policies and procedures do not exist or are not enforced, and collusion occurs.” While the end result of a municipal broadband system is not always the incarceration of its officials, these networks are costly and often fail due to a lack of transparency, accountability, and competition. For example, in 2004, Provo, Utah, began a build-out of its fiber-optic network, known as iProvo, to be operated as a publicly-run utility.

The £39 million debt was expected to be paid for through a £5.35 tax, known as the “telecom debt charge,” on monthly utility bills. Unfortunately, iProvo didn’t deliver and was finally purchased in April 2013 for £1 by Google, which is now developing and expanding the project. While the city is no longer in the business of providing Internet service, the taxpayers are still paying the bills for its failed system.

HB 2108 would help prevent future mismanagement of government-owned broadband networks across the commonwealth.

This legislation would establish new parameters under which such systems could be built, and increase accountability and transparency so that taxpayers will have some assurance that their money will not be wasted.

Google Fiber expands Webpass highspeed wireless broadband service

We heard some not so good news about the Google Fiber group last October as it discontinued expansion and reduced employee base1. It’s not totally bad because the business is still on. In fact, the Google Fiber TV app was updated2 with a couple of months ago with DVR recording and remote control mode. Google Fiber is doing another expansion but this time- the new Webpass wireless broadband service. If you may remember, Google acquired Webpass3 to add wireless capability. One of the tech giant’s many goals is to integrate the company in places where Webpass and Google Fiber are available.

The wireless broadband service will soon be ready in more areas from San Diego to San Francisco to Chicago. If you live in these areas and have Google Fiber subscription, you can take advantage of Webpass if there are 10 other units in the same building subscribed to the service. This is possible in places wired with Ethernet cabling specifically copper Ethernet wiring for gigabit-fast connection. Webpass brings superfast Internet service in the cities mentioned earlier.

If you notice on the map, there are now six cities.

You’ll also see the Current Fiber city, Upcoming Fiber city, Potential Fiber city, and Current Webpass city marked in their respective colors.

SOURCE: Google Fiber Blog4

Story Timeline


  1. ^ discontinued expansion and reduced employee base (
  2. ^ Google Fiber TV app was updated (
  3. ^ Google acquired Webpass (
  4. ^ Google Fiber Blog (

BaoFeng UV-5X 5PCS FM Function VHF 136-174MHz UHF 400-520MHz Dual Band Dual Watch128 Channels Ham Two-way radio Walkie Talkie Transceiver UK Plug+USB Program Cable+5xMIC-Lightwish

BaoFeng UV-5X 5PCS FM Function VHF 136-174MHz UHF 400-520MHz Dual Band Dual Watch128 Channels Ham Two-way radio Walkie Talkie Transceiver UK Plug+USB Program Cable+5xMIC-Lightwish

  • 1. Dual-band handheld transceiver with display function menu on the display “LCD”; DTMF encoded; Lithium-ion battery with high capacity; Commercial FM radio receiver (65 MHz ~ 108MHz); Incorporates 105 codes “DCS” and 50 privacy codes “CTCSS” programmable
  • 2. Function “VOX” (voice operated transmission) ; Alarm function; Up to 128 memory channels; Broadband (wide) / Narrowband (narrow), selectable; High power / low (5W/1W) selectable; Display illumination and programmable keyboard; Function “beep” on the keyboard; Dual watch/dual reception
  • 3.Selectable frequency step 2.5/5/6.25/10/12.5/25kHz; Function “OFFSET” (frequency offset for repeater access); Battery saving function “SAVE”; Timer transmission “TOT” programmable; Selecting the Scan Mode
  • 4.Function Busy Channel Lock “BCLO”; Built-in RX CTCSS/DCS scan; Built-in LED flashlight; Programmable by PC
  • 5.Level threshold “Squelch” adjustable from 0 to 9; Crossband reception; Tone end of transmission; Built-in key lock

BaoFeng UV-5X 5PCS FM Function VHF 136-174MHz UHF 400-520MHz Dual Band Dual Watch128 Channels Ham Two-way radio Walkie Talkie Transceiver UK Plug+USB Program Cable+5xBattery-Lightwish

Kindly reminder:
We promise to ship the 100% brand new product to you! It is a thin film on the screen to protect it from being scratched and won’t affect normal display. You can remove it by yourself


Frequency Range: VHF 136-174 MHz (Rx/Tx). UHF 400-520MHz (Rx/Tx);65MHz ~ 108MHz (Only commercial FM radio reception)
Memory channels: Up to 128 channels
Frequency stability: 2.5ppm
Frequency step: 2.5KHz/5KHz/6.25KHz/10KHz/12.5KHz/25KHz
Antenna impedance: 50?
Operating temperature: -20°C to +60°C
Supply voltage: Rechargeable Lithium-ion 7.4V/1800mAh
Consumption in standby: < =75mA
Consumption in reception: 380mA
Consumption in transmission: < = 1.4A
Mode of Operation: Simple or semi-duplex
Duty cycle: 03/03/54 min (Rx/Tx/Standby)
Dimension: 110x58x33 mm
Weight: 222g (included battery+ antenna)

RF power: 4W/1W
Type of modulation: FM
Emission class: 16kPHi F3E / 11kPHi F3E (W/N)
Maximum deviation: < =-+5kHz / < =-+2.5kHz(W/N)
Spurious emissions: < -60dB Receiver
Receiver sensitivity: 0.2uV(at 12dB SINAD)
Intermodulation: 60dB
Audio Output: 1000mW
Adjacent channel selectivity: 65/60dB

Power Adapter
Input: AC100-240V, 50-60Hz; Output: DC10V/500mA;Plug: UK

Package contents:

5x BAOFENG UV-5X FM Two-Way Radio Body (One 7.4V/1800mAh Battery included)
5x Antenna
5x UK Power Adapter
5x Belt Clip
5x Battery Charger
5x Earpiece
5x Hand Strap
5x User Manual
1x USB Program Cable
5xBaoFeng Handheld Speaker 3.5MM to 2.5MM