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Fighting City Hall

“Wireless service has been controversial in New Orleans because the city’s government has operated a small system since the hurricane, with hopes of keeping free service running even after emergency conditions ease. That proposal raised the ire of BellSouth and Cox Communications, the major for-profit players in Internet service in the city.”

Scott Leith,
Katrina Evacuee (blog) http://gina_renay.blogs.com/katrina_evacuee/2006/05/new_orleans_pic.html

Running Out of 'Lifeline’

“New Orleans has a public Wi-Fi network, mostly concentrated in the downtown area, that CIO Greg Meffert refers to as a 'lifeline’ for the city. Basically, it acts as a means, if not the only way, for both businesses and residents in the area to communicate … Meffert has been fighting to keep this little network running at 512 [Kilobits] per second, a pretty nice speed. I’d say. However, BellSouth, Cox, and others are bitching and moaning about this network, and are lobbying to get a Louisiana law enforced whereby public networks can only operate at 192 [Kbps]. It’s a ludicrous law to begin with, because as technologies improve, localities are not going to take steps to improve their own networks?”

Michael Sciannamea, The Wireless Report http://www.thewirelessreport.com/2006/04/21/let-new-orleans-build-a-wireless-network-without-outside-interfe/

The Spending After the Storm

“Can you hear me now? The cell phone-service slogan wasn’t funny last year when emergency officials and Hurricane Katrina evacuees could not reach one another in the post-storm chaos. After Katrina spawned a virtual black hole of communications, wireless and landline phone service providers beefed up New Orleans-area networks by spending more than $2.5 billion to improve services.’’

Matthew Penix, New Orleans CityBusiness

Texting Through the Chaos

“When landlines and cell phones were all but useless, Hurricane Katrina victims figured out that they could still connect to the outside world through text messaging, and that’s a lesson that has applications for the future of emergency communication.”

Editorial, Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

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