Wireless Internet service available at Capitol

Friday, February 4th 2005, 11:35 am

By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ State Senate officials have unveiled a new wireless Internet service that allows anyone watching a debate or reporting on legislation to have instant access to bills, news releases or audio posted on the Senate's Web site.

``It's exciting because of the amount of information that you can get in such a short time,'' said Malia Bennett, Senate communications director.

Bennett directed a short demonstration of the new service Thursday afternoon, with Senate intern MaKenna Smith firing up a wireless laptop and accessing the Senate Web page.

``You can pull up any bill and look at it, any news release,'' Bennett said. ``I think it's going to open up the process.''

The Senate staff created the hot spot with a one-time $5,000 investment by doing much of the work themselves, Bennett said. The state's telecommunications network, One Net, is providing Internet access for both the Senate and House sides of the Legislature.

Four access points have been installed for the wireless service to provide Internet access from the Senate's third, fourth and fifth floors, as well as the chamber and the gallery.

``I think it benefits the public when we take advantage of new technologies that can increase their access to information and the legislative process,'' said Senate President Pro Tem Cal Hobson, D-Lexington. ``I'm very proud that the Senate is once again breaking new ground for Oklahoma.''

Meanwhile, the House staff issued a news release Thursday announcing visitors will soon be able to access a wireless network installed on that side of the Capitol.

The House side already has its hot spot operational for the House members, and staff and public access is expected to be available as early next week.

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