BellSouth Disputes New Orleans Report

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BellSouth Corp. is disputing a published report saying that it withdrew its plan to donate a building to the New Orleans Police Department after learning that the city was planning to launch a wireless Internet network, a potential competitor.

“There are issues we need to work through together, and at this point in time, it would be inappropriate to comment about what those issues are any further,” BellSouth spokesman Joe Chandler said Monday.

New Orleans city officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

A Washington Post story Saturday quoted New Orleans officials as saying that BellSouth, angry about the city’s new free municipally owned Wi-Fi network, had rescinded an offer to hand over one of the telco’s damaged buildings as a new police headquarters.

“Nothing is absolute in this case, and we dispute the version of the issue that’s being reported right now,” Chandler said.

He added that the issue is unresolved and it “is still on the table.”

According to Chandler, “We want to discuss this issue with the mayor. We’ve been talking about it for quite some time.”

Since Hurricane Katrina struck Aug. 29 and destroyed the old New Orleans police headquarters, the force has been spread out in different temporary locations.

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