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NewsWatch: Muni Broadband Restricted, ID for the Undocumented, Police Chiefs Take Immigration to AG, Fingerprint Errors, Congestion Pricing, Small Wind Turbines, More...



Broadband Barriers
Broadband Barriers

May 27, 2010 By

North Carolina Bill Would Prohibit Municipal Broadband Business

The Miami Herald reported that the N.C., Senate Finance Committee will consider legislation that would force municipalities to get voter approval before borrowing money to build a competing broadband network. The bill is the latest in a series of efforts by telecom corporations to keep local governments out of the broadband business. "This is another iteration of the previous ones we have seen over the last three years that are designed to contain and cripple existing systems, and set the bar so high for new systems that it would be difficult for communities to move forward," said Doug Paris, an assistant to Salisbury's city manager. Salisbury has borrowed $30 million to build a fiber-optic network. It will begin testing the system in a few months. The telecom companies are opposed by the politically influential North Carolina League of Municipalities and corporate giants Google and Intel. They argue that crimping municipal broadband could stifle economic growth in a wired age.

ID for Undocumented Aliens Gets Angry Reaction

A new program that provides identification cards to undocumented immigrants in Princeton, N.J., has gained the national spotlight, and along with it, some hate mail, according to The Times. Last weekend the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a Hispanic advocacy group, began distributing community ID cards to any Princeton resident who wants one, even if the residents are in the United States illegally. On the first day, 25 people received the cards at Nassau Presbyterian Church in the borough.

First Responders Still Struggle to Communicate, Despite Technology Standards

According to Nextgov, even when first responder agencies comply with the standards for making their radio systems interoperable, there's no guarantee they will be able to communicate in the field, an official at the Homeland Security Department told Congress on Thursday. Project 25 is an open suite of standards public safety professionals developed for manufacturing interoperable two-way wireless communications products. But various interpretations of the standards have led to P25-compliant equipment that is unable to communicate with P25 products from other manufacturers or, in some cases, earlier versions of the same brand.

Police Chiefs Concerned About Arizona, Immigration

Immigration legislation being considered in several states and similar to the crackdown in Arizona would have a chilling impact on local law enforcement, Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland told the Houston Chronicle Wednesday. McClelland was one of nine police chiefs from major U.S. cities who met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to voice concern about local police enforcement of immigration laws. "The federal government should bring clarity to this issue," McClelland said outside the Justice Department following a one-hour meeting with Holder.

EMT's Faked Papers

At least 200 emergency medical technicians and paramedics in Massachusetts and New Hampshire have been practicing without legitimate certification, officials told the Boston Globe. They have been paying for fake credentials, rather than receiving medical training, state public health officials said. An ongoing investigation has so far determined that training companies illegally authorized state credentials for first responders in at least a dozen communities, including Boston. The probe is expected to continue to grow and include more communities.

Houston Police Made Lots of Fingerprint Errors

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