Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Good news for N.O. geeks, hackers, and nerds.

New Orleans will be the first city in the nation to provide free wireless computing throughout the city.
To help boost its stalled economy, hurricane-ravaged New Orleans is offering the nation's first free wireless Internet network owned and run by a major city.

Mayor Ray Nagin said Tuesday the system would benefit residents and small businesses who still can't get their Internet service restored over the city's washed out telephone network, while showing the nation "that we are building New Orleans back."

The system started operation Tuesday in the central business district and French Quarter. It's to be available throughout the city in about a year.

But I have a question that has to do with this paragraph:
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.

What crazy legislator proposed this bit of crap? Why should the speed be limited by law? It isn't as though some kilobits are going to drive drunk, leave their lane and plough into other kilobits with disastrous consequences. (OK, I'll cop to knowing why -- to keep the dialup ISPs in business. So whoever proposed this little turd of bureaucratic free-market-and-competition-killing legislation had his hand in some ISP's pocket. AOL? Bellsouth? who?

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