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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

New Orleans will have free muni wi-fi

This is interesting. The city of New Orleans, in an attempt to lure people back after Hurricane Katrina, is offering free municipally owned wi-fi that will cover the whole city. They'll be the first major metropolis to run a muni wi-fi network.

Check out the last two sentences of this short AP item:

The system will operate at 512 kilobytes per second as long as the city remains under a state of emergency.
That will be slowed once the state of emergency is over — that date has not been determined — to 128 kps in accordance with state law, which restricts government-owned Internet service.

That put me in mind of this essay by Doc Searls that Bill Simmon forwarded me yesterday. Haven't had a chance to read through the whole thing yet, but it makes me want to write more about Burlington Telecom, that's for sure.

November 29, 2005 at 02:39 PM in Wi-fi/Broadband in VT | Permalink


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These speeds don't seem very good to me to start with and then it get's slower?! I have sneaking suspicion that it's being run on the side of some city wide DHS funded first responder data network. How about school reform, or updated text books. Or a real investigation into NOPD corruption. Those are much more useful incentives.

Posted by: Jese Krembs | Nov 29, 2005 3:19:27 PM

They'll be the first major metropolis to run a muni wi-fi network.

I believe this is the first free wide scale muni wifi. Philadelphia has wide spread muni wifi, but it's not free.

I agree with Jesse's criticism, and as much of the city is still without power (wifi seeming pretty useless for those folks), I can see this backfiring as a PR thing. This isn't my opinion, but I can see some people thinking of this as another gesture to the haves of NOLA at the expense of the have-nots.

Posted by: Bill Simmon | Nov 30, 2005 6:10:33 AM

I see what you mean about the haves/have nots, but I also think this could be seen as a business-friendly thing to lure business-types back in. I wonder if it's possible to have internet access any other way there right now. And if they don't have internet access, I would think it would be difficult to do business, at least to do any kind of office work.

But it didn't say much about WHY they're doing this in the AP article. I'm definitely curious.

Has Philadelphia rolled out their system yet? Not sure.

Posted by: cresmer | Nov 30, 2005 8:38:27 AM

The idea that this business friendly is myth though.

The business would have to completely rebuild their voice and data service infrastructure to run over a public medium with no fixed internet address. It's a nice gesture and will serve small independent information workers well,(web developers, and writers) but anything larger then a small office with it's own data servers or PBX is SOL.

You'll also need the people in place to set this up for said small business.

Posted by: Jesse Krembs | Nov 30, 2005 12:28:11 PM

This network was in place PRIOR to Katrinia and to assist the NOPD. Crime in the city was reduced approximately 50% year over year as a result.

AFTER Katrina the network provided valuable services to the first responders in the immediate wake of Katrina when many of the normal telecom services were NOT available.

It is only recently that the network was provided free of charge to locals and this will likely revert back to normal standards over time.

Posted by: KP Washington | Apr 30, 2006 10:03:38 AM

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