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Internet, WiFi, MiFi, and other options

By Suzanne Trimble

Internet connections when working in courthouses and other spaces, not including home

I recently used all the data on my WiFi hotspot plan for the entire month just days before a daily copy-realtime trial by uploading over a thousand exhibits for said trial to Dropbox. Many were videos. I had the largest data package that Verizon offered for a hotspot — or so I thought. I tried an AT&T hotspot, and the signal was too weak in this courtroom and it consistently dropped the connection with my scopists. Freak-out mode commenced.

I am assigned to one federal courthouse, but I also travel to three other courthouses in the Middle District of Florida to cover hearings and trials when needed. Because I am a full-time federal employee and my transcript income is considered my own business, I am prohibited from conducting this business on any government-provided equipment such as phones, internet, government computers, etc.

My need for internet is vast. I need internet in my office at the courthouse and courtrooms in various cities, in buildings that are not conducive to receiving a cellular signal. To complicate things further, courtrooms in the same courthouse have differing abilities to receive cell signals. In the courtroom I need a lot of data; dependable, full, and fast coverage for daily copy-realtime trials in which I use Eclipse Connection Magic/Stenograph RealTeam to simultaneously connect scopists and send realtime feeds to multiple parties both in the courtroom and off-site.

It became obvious to me that I needed multiple sources for internet. I learned that cell companies offer more data in their business plans than in personal cell plans. For instance, Verizon’s business plan includes VZ Internet Gateway, which is a truly unlimited data plan. A game changer is always carrying two companies’ hotspots in case one doesn’t get a signal or uses all the data allotted for the month, i.e., Verizon plus AT&T. With these changes in my cell service plans, I have better peace of mind and can say yes to opportunities in any location.

Suzanne Trimble, RPR, CRR, of Sanford, Fla., is the chair of the NCRA Technology Committee. She can be reached at