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“New” Orleans Turns on City-Wide Wi-fi November 29, 2005

Posted by Leita in Government, Hurricane, Internet, Politics, Southern Living.

Who deserves free wi-fi more than New Orleans residents? Me, but that’s okay… after watching a city drown while residents suffer and die partly due to communication breakdown I’m all for anything that directly addresses the problem.

Remember, it could happen to your city, too. There are few places in the U.S. safe from Mother Nature’s wrath. Plus, every time a community goes wireless it pisses off the privately owned utility companies and that alone simply Makes My Day. I just paid my cable bill and to be frank, it sucks, but I’ll hold that rant for another post.

Want to ensure it happens in your area, too? Write your state and local potentates. Do it soon because they’re currently eying legislative bills that’ll stymie any chances of making it a reality.

Already running in the French Quarter and the business district, the article claims the whole city will be hooked up in a year.
Here’s how it works:

The system uses hardware mounted on street lights. Most of the $1 million in equipment was donated by three companies: Intel Corp., Tropos Networks Inc. and Pronto Networks. The companies also plan to donate equipment for the citywide expansion. Tropos is connecting the system to the Internet at no charge.

The network uses “mesh” technology to pass the wireless signal from pole to pole rather than each Wi-Fi transmitter being plugged directly into a physical network cable. That way, laptop users will be able to connect even in areas where the wireline phone network will take time to restore.

The system will provide download speeds of 512 kilobits per second as long as the city remains under a state of emergency. But the bandwidth will be slowed to 128 kbps in accordance with a limit set by Louisiana’s law once the city’s state of emergency is lifted at an unknown future date.

The service will remain free for residents and businesses after the state of emergency ends.

From: Big Easy Launches Free Wireless System (via Yahoo).

Some balk at the idea of reconstructing an entire city built on oatmeal and wallpaper paste for a levy but what would it cost to build a city from scratch? Plus, it would be a butt-ugly BlandTown.. reason enough to support the efforts to bring back a city deserving whole volumes of the country’s history.

With phone service still hit-and-miss in New Orleans; I wager Skype and Vonage will see a little peak in new customers, eh? That has to hurt the phone companies, even if it’s just a smidge.

Now, how about Mississippi? Let’s see some wi-fi in Biloxi! Since the big-boy utility companies cannot justify the cost/profit on their bloated spreadsheets, there’s plenty of room for tender young companies to squeeze in and provide wi-fi for smaller communities.

I’d pay a local tax just for the chuckles knowing how many people would dump their utility company’s broadband service.

Heh. I’m chuckling now just at the thought…

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3. Dennis - November 18, 2007

Yeah well i found this page almost two years after you posted it. I live in Biloxi, MS and I waiting for someone to install City Wide WiFi and if that doesn’t happen AT&T/ Cingular has been saying since March of ’07 that this are should have 3G UMTS/HSDPA in January ’08 which ever one is first hopefully AT&T… Will give me what I need to kick Cableone in the Nuts and toss my cable modem in the Gulf!!

Heres a funny Katrina story for you Here in Biloxi and elsewhere on the coast turning in scrap metal like copper got real popular after Katrina… In may 2006 some “Jack Off” Cut one of Cableone’s Fiber Optic backbone lines coming in the biloxi area looking for copper to strip out and sell at a recycle yard


I Guess the idiot was upset to find out he had a cable full of glass not copper!

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