Saturday, March 25, 2006

Bellsouth wants to kill free wifi in N.O.
"Ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, and suffering desperately from its after-effects, New Orleans still depends to a great extent on Wi-Fi to maintain communications.

But now telecommunication lobbyists are trying to shut down the network, and Greg Meffert, the city’s chief information officer, fears the state legislature will agree.

'State law prohibits cities from providing more than a relatively sluggish 128-kbps network, but New Orleans offered its faster network as an emergency relief effort,' says Red Herring, going on that with corporate help, New Orleans had hoped to expand the wireless network at a cost of $12 million to $18 million.

'We are talking to Yahoos and Googles to step up and access the rest of the city,' the story has Meffert saying.

But, 'The vendors, the BellSouths of this world, are not only going to force us back, making our existing Wi-Fi illegal, but also they want to close a loophole for emergencies so that we would not do this again.'"

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