The Treehouse Blog

Tag: freedom

Isn’t AMPS dead yet?

by on May.10, 2010, under Radio

It was with some great fanfare that AMPS met its death on February 18th, 2008.  But did it really die?  As far as I can tell, all that happened on that date was that the FCC no longer required cellular providers to make AMPS available, and many did eagerly turn it off.  But, unlike the conversion to digital television, there appears to be no requirement at this point for providers to abandon AMPS if it is still making them money.  That being the case, are there any AMPS providers still out there?  Public filings (available here) concerning AMPS status were made prior to the sunset date and reveal that some companies had a lot of AMPS customers still and had no plans to turn the service off.

Why do I care?  Because I loathe 47 CFR 15.121 and would like to see it abolished.  This is the section of FCC regulations that forbids the manufacture of devices that can receive, or be easily modified to receive, cellular frequencies.  This requirement only covers the Part 22 Cellular Service (824-849, 869-894 MHz) and not the all-digital PCS and AWS bands that cell service has expanded into.  With AMPS, conversations were transmitted using FM, and so could be easily decoded by any FM receiver that could tune to the appropriate frequencies.  With the digital services, more sophisticated handling of the signal (and even decryption) would be required, which apparently made it unnecessary to have the same kind of regulation.  As far as I know, this is the only restriction placed on what frequencies can be tuned by a receiver.  On freedom grounds alone, I have a big problem with that.  If AMPS does finally die – and I hope it does – I hope that 47 CFR 15.121 can die with it.

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Freedom

by on Nov.06, 2009, under Politics

Our country is supposed to be the shining light of freedom and liberty in the world, something for which we should be proud and work to honor and defend.  Incredibly, the United States Congress is poised to trample our freedoms in its efforts to improve the country’s health care system.

HR3962 calls for the punishment of those choosing to go without health insurance with a fine (assessed as an increase in taxes).  A government mandate of this  nature is contrary to the personal freedom to exercise one’s means as they will.

The bill also calls for the creation of the “public health insurance option” which will be a government alternative to private insurance.  Reducing the cost of health care is a primary goal of the current reform effort.  This goal, combined with a government health care option, would further open the already unlatched door to government regulation of personal behaviors, such as what we eat and what we do, in order to promote health and cost savings.  Such regulations would represent an incredible loss of liberty in the interest of the fiscal responsibility of government-funded health care.

When considering the inherent aspects of this bill that undermine our freedoms, it seems clear that the bill must be opposed in its current form.  The congress should set its sights on fixing the problems that exist in ways that do not erode our liberties.

As always, I hope that everyone takes the time to really consider the implications of proposed legislation, regardless of their affiliations and preconceptions.  As technology and communications open our government process further, we’re given the opportunity to be more democratic, with voiced opinions on individual issues and not just which representative has the least objectionable set of opinions.

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