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The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

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Ever hear of the term "essential service"? | 397 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Err... really?!
Authored by: squib on Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 05:15 PM EST
In the United States, it has traditionally been left to the individual to freely choose for himself what, where, how, and how much he should prepare.
So do you own and control you're own cell phone tower?

But I think you would be hard pressed to show that anyone died due to a lack of essential communication.
Having worked in the insurance business vis safety standard committees, 'human life' actually has a financial value. Overhead power distribution is cheaper than European underground cables. So, more people die in the US from downed transmission cables (from hurricanes etc.,) but those fatalities are economically acceptable by 'your' legal standards. How does one therefore quantify lose of life fromm bad communications? Your on a winning argument there.

Government has an emergency communication network, mostly radios. Amateur Radio operators assist in essential communications.
So, do you or your neighbours (in a emergency or any other time) have access to Gov.com. Do you have an Amateur Radio licence (and a transceiver with USP). Have you ever been in a situation where nothing works any more and you have no drinkable water or anything else to preserve your existence?

I don't like it when other people embark on an ad hominem attack (in fact I leap to the victim's defence) but in this case, I think you are a complete and utter -ignorant twit.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Phones Went Dead After Hurricane Sandy
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 07:18 PM EST
Emergency communications has to be self contained, already distributed to the
people who will use them, and tested intermittently (maybe even more
requirements like range and compatibility with distant damage free areas).
Amateur radio does this nicely. It could easily be organized and financed as
an official available tool because it has often been the tool that works after a
short volunteer
effort is extended. It's Ad hoc ability makes it very good at cutting red tape
out of the equation.
It's too bad popularity is waning. Dropping the technical requirements and
Morse code testing and substituting purchased certified equipment instead might
help.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Claim what you want, can you deliver
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 11:59 PM EST
For that matter they can claim to have a bullet proof system, take the money and
close when the storm hits. They can file for bankruptcy when the UPS batteries
die and fly off in their private jet.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Delegating tasks / My best interest: not having a looting hobo neighbour
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 12:18 AM EST
Many people suffer from a basic human urge to help those 'less fortunate around
us, who in case of disaster were either either not smart enough to prepare, too
poor to afford it, or unlucky enough to loose their supplies.
But on top of that it is in my/our best interest not to have many people around
us reduced to a state of desperate poverty in single moment, as it treatens our
own chance of survival. (see the looting in New Orleans)

So having built my case for *why* to help, the usual way in democraties is
regulation: building rules for situations we beleave important enough for our
common good to regulate.

We can arrange for a bottom-up system, where everybody is self-sufficiant for a
certain time like you seem to be supportive of, and this would certainly work
well in the first 48 hours of a disaster.

But for longer periods, the overhead becomes too large (rent on unused supplies,
loss of quality, etc),
Whereas the risk of the disaster appearing to large areas at once is so small
that one deposic can be used as insurace for a wide area. (the 'fat')

So many people choose (vote) to *give their goverment the task* to regulate
this en large. This can be done commercially; by giving tenders to companies
and/or rules they have to abide by (IE within the telecom licences).

Or the government can create it's own supplies/people/netwroks.

All three solutions have their pro's and con's and I think the best way is a
combination to build enough redundancy in case of failure.


---
Coming to the case of cellphone towers: sure they may fail. But if a 5%
increasein quality can prevent a 50% faiure rate, why not make that payment if a
high-risk area? It will easely be recovered by the saving you will make on
emergency response teams and insurence payouts.


----
PS: LOL, you've got a pretty broad definition of communism.
Actually it's more a case of communism being the people; and the people aren't
allowed to own anything so they can not build reserves to provide for themselves
even if theyant to.
I admit, in Europe we have made some compromises to socialism to *prevent* the
arrival of communism (for the reason of the above mentioned hobo joke), but
we've tried to only take the good ideas and rework them to a democratic
solution(with wildly variating success...)


- MBB -

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Phones Went Dead After Hurricane Sandy
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 03:36 PM EST
the fact that you equate government regulation with
Communism tells me you don't understand Communism. Try
reading the works of Karl Marx (who founded communism), then
of Lenin and Mao (who implemented totalitarianism regimes in
the name of Communism). Then do a comparison.

Also, read your history. We gave the Feds several powers in
1789, because it was determined that the "mutual agreeable
association" (the original Articles of Confederation) didn't
work. It sounds nice in theory, but doesn't work in reality
when you're talking more than a small community. Especially
if you ALSO want to protect minorities from the tyranny of
the majority.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Ever hear of the term "essential service"?
Authored by: JamesK on Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 05:09 PM EST
That is what the phone network is. People have to be able to rely on it in times
of emergency. The traditional phone companies provided emergency power, in the
form of battery banks and on-site generation, to keep things going through long
power failures. These days, more and more people are depending on cell phones,
whether they have a home phone or not. Also, pay phones are disappearing, so if
away from home, cell is the only option. Bottom line, everyone providing phone
service, be it traditional POTS, cell or VoIP had better be prepared for
significant power outages. It is so important, that it most definitely be
mandated by law. Relying on the carriers to do this, as in so many other
situations where the bottom line rules, simply does not work. Some things
simply have to be compulsory.

---
The following program contains immature subject matter.
Viewer discretion is advised.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Hardening Phone Towers is a National Security Issue
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 10:40 PM EST

It's that simple.

Wayne
http://madhatter.ca

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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