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New Atlantis (Aka NO) To Get Free Broadband

I guess they have their priorities.

From the DNC’s Associated Press:


Big Easy Launches Free Wireless System

Nov 29 New Orleans — In an attempt to boost its stalled economy, the hurricane-ravaged city of New Orleans is starting the nation’s first free wireless Internet network owned and run by a major city.

Mayor Ray Nagin made the announcement at a late morning news conference.

Similar projects elsewhere have been stalled by stiff opposition from telephone and cable television companies aimed at discouraging competition from public agencies.

Nagin said the system started operation Tuesday in the central Business District and the French Quarter. It is to be available throughout the city in about a year.

The system uses hardware mounted on street lights to cover the city.

Most of the equipment was donated by three companies: Intel Corp., Tropos Networks and Pronto Networks.

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.

As far as wasted taxpayer money and boondoggles in general go, this is fairly mild. Free WiFi might actually help the local businesses and even attract some geeksresidents back to town.

And at least this is some money that won’t find its way (at least directly) into Mayor Nagin’s Bemuda shorts.

But for some reason the whole thing reminds me of this picture I saw a day or so ago:

Al Jessup of Beckley adjusts one of his 12 satellite dishes Saturday at his home on James Street. All 12 dishes are in working order receiving 5,000-plus radio and television stations and Jessup plans to buy his 13th soon.

Still, the people I feel sorry for are those poor dupeskind souls who gave money to the Veterans For Peacedown there, so those techie mavens of the VFPcould set up internet connections for the Red Cross and Katrina victims, who otherwise would have died miserable lonely deaths.

Now what will the VFPdo with the $500,000 they collected?

(Thanks to 1sttofight for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, November 29th, 2005. Comments are currently closed.

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