Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency

Rural Wireless solution

The Southwest border lacks reliable communications for the U.S. citizens living in the vast desert areas near the Mexico border in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Cellular Communications companies are reluctant to build the towers and wireless infrastructure due to the lack of population and high cost factors involved (estimated cost is in the billions $$$), there is no good business case to do so without government subsidies. Crimes against Americans, to include a recent murder, are committed daily by illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S. Our citizens have no form of communication to reach authorities unless they are in their homes; there is no cell phone coverage in the rural areas. My proposal would require the FCC to ease import restrictions and allow border residents in rural areas to either purchase devices (phones, antennas, repeaters) known as High Powered Cordless Phones (HPCP) or Ultra Long Distance Phones. These devices would allow the homeowner an extension of their home phone service wirelessly but they must have phone service in their home for this proposal to work. Current FCC rules allow cordless phones and devices that can operate 3-8 KM in the U.S. There are wireless long range products that operate from the home base and ultra long range products that can reach up to 20 KM with a handheld and up to 50 KM in a vehicle utilizing proper antennas. These devices are being used in other countries and also have network capabilities available. However, they are restricted from import to the U.S. Cost estimates per household could be lower than $1000. There are currently FCC approved devices that can operate 3-8 KM in the US. Development of a program managed by DHS/OEC would allow at risk residents to either purchase or be issued by the government with restrictions and accountability. Billions of $$$ could be saved and a fix would be in place immediately. Given an estimate of 10000 SW Border residents and 1600 miles of border, initial cost could be $1,000,000 or less to fix this problem. The savings over building an infrastructure would be in the BILLIONS and provide an immediate fix to one of the Border Communications problems. A similar solution utilizing repeaters could extend CBP coverage on the border as well and save even more taxpayer $$$.

This is a quick win with immediate benefit to the US citizen and the President’s Administration. More information available on request.

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Idea No. 13163