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New Orleans to Deploy Free Wi-Fi City Wide 363

Posted by Zonk
from the webbing-things-back-into-place dept.
Lawrence_Bird writes "The Washington Post is reporting that New Orleans will deploy a city wide wi-fi network with free public access. Much of the equipment has been donated, but New Orleans will own and operate the network. Interestingly, they are only able to do this while a state of emergency remains in place as technically their planned 512Kbps service violates state law prohibiting municipalities from offering access at speeds in excess of 144Kbps, a restriction the city plans on fighting even though they will eventually outsource the whole operation."
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New Orleans to Deploy Free Wi-Fi City Wide

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  • by fembots (753724) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @02:42PM (#14140304) Homepage
    Will this be the first case of never-ending SOE similar to the never-ending Beta [slashdot.org]?

    This way consumers get to use the service first, and companies get to roll out their services without having to abide strict regulations and/or an actual committment.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Contrary to what the government and the media would have us believe, New Orleans and the south in general is still a disaster area. New Orleans specifically still is, for the most part, the same as it was when Katrina hit. Alot of places more "important" for tourism and business have been cleaned up, but the other areas like the Ninth Ward still look like warzones. The State of Emergency may last for years.
  • Hmmmm...... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 8127972 (73495) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @02:43PM (#14140315)
    Free WiFi while significant portions of their population are still displaced and / or homeless.

    Perhaps their priorities are a bit backward?
    • Re:Hmmmm...... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @02:53PM (#14140404) Homepage Journal
      "Perhaps their priorities are a bit backward?"

      Well, for the majority of us...it is a circular hell to rebuild. We want to rebuild homes..but, have to wait till FEMA sets new flood plain standards...have to see if you have to raise your house or no insurance. And we're waiting to see if we can get long term commitment to rebuild the levee system...to withstand CAT 5 storms...without that, not much use in rebuilding.

      Funny...the politicos couldn't fall over each other fast enough for 9/11...but, sure don't seem to be too excited to help us down here.

      Frankly, if we could get our fair share of royalties for letting all the oil/gas be mined on and off our coast...get the 40%-50% that other states do when natural resources like oil are harvested (many interior states)...revenue that we've not had, but, should have for years...we could easily take care of ourselves and build a system that would make Holland blush. It is money that is ours, and should be ours...but, we can't seem to get it out of congress.

      Sorry...easy to get carried away on the soapbox...it is so frustrating down here...a total clusterfuck doesn't even come close to describing it...

      • by Anonymous Coward
        to withstand CAT 5 storms

        With the wireless tech you could alleviate the need to run Cat5. And what do you mean by storms - does it tangle and you get mad?
      • So I do understand. But "Frankly, if we could get our fair share of royalties for letting all the oil/gas be mined on and off our coast...get the 40%-50% that other states do when natural resources like oil are harvested (many interior states)...revenue that we've not had, but, should have for years..."
        Those land off the coast doesn't belong to the states it belongs to the federal government. That being said I am all for LA and Mississippi getting it to rebuild.
        Levee's for a CAT 5? Which CAT 5? 195mph? or 2
        • Get a new Mayor and Gov.
           
          I second that idea. Local officials that are competent and actually WANT to serve the people will do a lot more good than hoping the feds decide to do more. Besides, it wasn't Bush's job to create an evacuation plan for New Orleans, it was ultimately the mayor's job and he failed miserably. Of course, getting new officials may require a temporary willingness to vote Republican until the local Democratic party gets cleaned up.
          • Actually it was also the Gov's responsibility. New Orleans doesn't have enough space outside of flood zones to house shelters. The towns around New Orleans should have helped provide shelter space but from what I saw they didn't do anything helpful and a good amount that was harmful.
            Just imagine what Florida has gone through. I have actually lost count of how many storms have hit us in that last two seasons. I have another friend that works for Florida Power and Light as a lineman. He is about to have a bre
          • I think there was failure on ALL levels of govt. I really think IMHO, that the Gov. was largely responsible for the problems in the immediate days after Katrina. She would not federalize the situation in a quick manner...that kept Guard and Military people out of NOLA, which could have kept order better...

            While the Mayor made his share of mistakes...he's not the one to blame in all this. He was here during the storm...and all the problems. He stayed to try to help while other left the city.

            Frankly, I tho

      • Re:Hmmmm...... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lucabrasi999 (585141) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @03:25PM (#14140716) Journal
        We want to rebuild homes..but, have to wait till FEMA sets new flood plain standards...have to see if you have to raise your house or no insurance.

        Do you know why you have to wait for FEMA? Because the government is the only organization stupid enough to offer flood insurance. No private company in the US offers "flood insurance". And, if the government did as it should, and got out of the flood insurance business, then my tax dollars would not be wasted on rebuilding your house in an obvious flood zone. You could just move to, you know, higher ground, and start rebuilding right away.

        Sorry if this appears to be a flame...but it is the truth.

        If we could get our fair share of royalties for letting all the oil/gas be mined on and off our coast...get the 40%-50% that other states do when natural resources like oil are harvested (many interior states)...revenue that we've not had, but, should have for years.

        Well, for one example, Alaskan oil is actually located within the physical boundaries of the State of Alaska. Last time I looked at a map, the Gulf of Mexico was outside of Louisiana/Mississippi territorial borders. So, I disagree, you don't deserver a penny in royalties--since you don't "own" the oil. For that matter, the State of Alaska shouldn't be profiting (because State Government's also don't own oil), but that is another question.

        • What we want..is what other states get royalty wise when oil/gas are extracted from federal lands or fed. waters like other states do. They do get 40% or so of tax revenues that are paid to the feds for all the strain it puts on the state in question. LA doesn't get the same consideration that other states do. If the current scheme was just made equal for us as it is for other states...then we could easily afford to rebuild and erect a proper levee and flood gate system.

          We're just asking for what other sta

    • Re:Hmmmm...... (Score:4, Informative)

      by bigtrike (904535) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @02:54PM (#14140414)
      Free WiFi while significant portions of their population are still displaced and / or homeless.

      According to TFA, this will provide a huge time savings for inspectors and police. The WiFi is directly improving rebuilding efforts in a number of ways. It's likely much easier and cheaper to provide free wireless for it all than it is to set up a security mechanism to give access only to government officials.

      Perhaps their priorities are thought out well?
    • Free WiFi while significant portions of their population are still displaced and / or homeless. Perhaps their priorities are a bit backward?

      I don't think so... the interent isn't just for HalfLife2 you know ;)

      The communication infrastructure is a major priority in any large reconstruction, as improved communication makes rescue/rebuilding efforts easier and is a requirement for drawing residents and buisness back. With power/internet still spotty around the city, I would think tossing up access point
    • Perhaps their priorities are a bit backward?

      Nothing new...

      New Orleans spent more effort at having fun they did at building levies.

  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @02:44PM (#14140321) Homepage Journal


    Note that nothing a government offers is truly free, even in the case here where the hardware is mostly donated.

    Government-run programs are generally maintained by unionized public workers. These programs have little competition and often cost more than a private competitive market (note [ncpa.org] municipal water reclamation costs).

    The city mentions they'll outsource the program to private companies, but do you believe these companies won't be owned by cronies? Even New Orleans has their own version of Haliburton.

    Is providing Internet access ever a city's responsible? In my town we have 3 city-wide free WiFi providers and 20 local "coffee shop" providers. I don't see why New Orleans feels that they're needing a taxpayer funded ISP when what they really need is a tax hiatus to bring businesses and entrepreneurs to LA to create jobs and better lives that jobs help to build.

    The hurricane damage is evidence to me of the decay of government projects and the wasted taxpayer money. That money would produce a safer city with more jobs if it was left to the citizens.
    • by flyinwhitey (928430) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @02:51PM (#14140383)
      As long as I consider the Library a government responsibility, I have to say the same about internet access.

      There is no fundamental difference to me, and universal access to information is the kind of thing I would be proud to pay taxes for.

      • by greysky (136732) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @03:09PM (#14140568)
        Say what you want about "universal access to information", but government-funded free wifi isn't necessarily a good thing. Keep in mind that this could severely hurt ISP that were already devastated by the hurricane. If you can get wifi for free, then why pay for a service that is offered by company X? Having a bandwidth limitation seems to me a good solution, as people who can't afford access can still get it, but just not at the speeds they could if they paid for it. To take your library analogy to the next level, the library only lets you have n number of books at a time, and you have to return them. You have to pay a bookstore to have books at a "higher bandwidth", which in turn helps the economy.
      • As long as I consider the Library a government responsibility, I have to say the same about internet access.

        Everyone already has basic internet access.

        The telephone line.

        If you mean the ability to d/l the distro of the week, while simultaneously sharing out several gig of mp3's, then you and I differ about what 'government responsibility' is.

      • As long as I consider the Library a government responsibility, I have to say the same about internet access. There is no fundamental difference to me, and universal access to information is the kind of thing I would be proud to pay taxes for.

        I'm so happy you feel that way. Unfortunately, I don't. Taxes are mandatory, and they are only necessary to fund programs that people wouldn't be willing to pay for voluntarily. When you support a tax program to implement 'free' wifi, you are advocating using the

        • Once Governments start controlling internet access, whether through free wifi or any other method, they will start regulating content.

          Dude, your people control all three branches of government in the U.S. Sooner or later, you're gonna have to stop complaining about being oppressed by "arrogant, progressive . . . nerd[s]". You're not being hassled by the Man, you are the Man, now.

        • No, the government wouldn't censor the internet for the very reason that it is a "pull" media. Every bit you get over the internet line is requested by you.

          Radio and broadcast TV, on the other hand, are "push" media, in that data is sent to you without request. This is why it is censored.

          BTW, i am VERY opposed to the FCC's post-janet-jackson's-boob witch hunt...

      • There is no fundamental difference to me, and universal access to information is the kind of thing I would be proud to pay taxes for.


        The government doesn't provide "universal access to information" now through libraries (no obscenity) and it won't through wifi, at least not for very long.

    • Is providing Internet access ever a city's responsible?

      I think that every government with the people's interests in mind is interested in providing them with access to information. To that end, everywhere you can't get a decent net connection (I'm lucky if I can get 31.2kbps on my dialup, because all the copper in Lake County, CA, USA is craptacular legacy pacbell stuff) should be looking at providing free wifi. It's not all that expensive to do if you do it cheaply in the first place and if the marke

      • So? You can blame your city for the lack of broadband -- many towns have impossible laws regarding communications companies, or they're paid off by the main megacomm company to restrict what smaller businesses can do.

        You can do what I did for a few years: get together with 20 of your neighbors and co-op a T1 line. Run a decent central antenna for WiFi service, cap it at 1MB or so, and you're setup. You'd pay about $35/household. Don't blame your town for your lack of initiative.
        • HAHAHAHAHA. 20 people on a T1. Cable is approx. four times faster [downstream] and I have no problem saturating cable all by myself. I can actually get cable where I live, but I can't afford it right now (A friend hooked me up with his SBC dialup, so I am currently paying $0.) Amusingly, I'm just about the only person at work who ever uses the 'net, and we do have a mere T1. Anyway, I definitely cannot afford all of the crap I'd need to run a T1 with anything like reliability and I live in an extremely hill
          • Let us look at your situation:

            1) You decided to live far away from a major metropolitan area, and in the mountains. This is your decision, and living far away from a mass of people means you'll also have limited access to more than just wifi (limited grocery stores, limited movie theaters, limited restaurants, etc).

            2) Your decision to live far away from the hubs also reduces your income and your job opportunities.

            3) You use massive bandwidth which is not the intent of free WiFi (porn, movies, and music are
              1. You decided to live far away from a major metropolitan area, and in the mountains.
                Well, kind of. I didn't really decide to live there, I ended up there. It was the only place I had to go at the time, after the demise of my relationship.
              2. Your decision to live far away from the hubs also reduces your income and your job opportunities.
                Yes, there's not a whole lot here. I could commute, but I can't afford that right now, either.
              3. You use massive bandwidth which is not the intent of free WiFi (porn, movie
    • Quoi? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by C10H14N2 (640033) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @03:00PM (#14140480)
      That money would produce a safer city with more jobs if it was left to the citizens.

      Last I checked, in this country, the government is composed of -- gasp -- citizens, not space aliens from Uranus. At what point did Americans forget the "of, by, and for the people" routine? Why should a state or federal authority be telling the citizens of a town that they can't do whatever they blinking well please as far as public works projects? So the _citizens_ get together and say, golly, we can all chip in ten bucks and we'll have a wonderful benefit for our community that is worth far more than ten bucks to each citizen.

      What's next? Gee, sorry Podunksville, you can't build a public park with a toilet. You need to sell the land off to a private developer so you can have the privilege of paying to sit on the grass or take a leak.

      I don't see how this is any different.
      • Re:Quoi? (Score:3, Funny)

        by ksheff (2406)

        the government is composed of -- gasp -- citizens, not space aliens from Uranus.

        having dealt with some of the local govt employees, I wouldn't be sure of that.
      • Here's what I understand your argument to be: municipalities are just groups of people who live near each other, and groups of people who live near each other should be able to set up a wifi network if they wish to do so.

        Here's the flaw in what you're saying: very few policy decisions (even in municipalities) are unanimous, so it is likely that there is a subgroup that does not wish to participate in the project. You are advocating coercing these people to participate, or at least to fund everyone else's p
    • Spending a couple hundred hours to bolt boxes to a street light and wire it in is far different in terms of cost than giving thousands of business each thousands of dollars in tax breaks.

      As far as the cronyism goes, that could be best taken care of by requiring the contract to be re-bid each year and going with the cheapest bid from a qualified agency. You can't just force the lowest bid by law in these situations. I've seen numerous occassions where "lowest bid" regulations waste money by giving the c
    • Government-run programs are generally maintained by unionized public workers. These programs have little competition and often cost more than a private competitive market (note municipal water reclamation costs).

      In many cases you are correct. In a normal market, it is usually a poor idea to have the government run any service or provide any product with three major exceptions. The first exception is when the free market has failed, or when the service is in the best interests of the public as a whole bu

    • Note that nothing a government offers is truly free, even in the case here where the hardware is mostly donated.

      That is a useless definition of the word "free". With that definition, nothing anywhere is ever free, because someone, somewhere paid for it. It is free because it is offered for no charge. That is the definition of free. That everything requires that there be some cost associated is irrelevant. It is obvious that there is always a cost associated with everything. Free isn't about what it
    • Government-run programs are generally maintained by unionized public workers. These programs have little competition and often cost more than a private competitive market (note municipal water reclamation costs).

      That sentiment can be true, but the key word there is "competitive". Where little competition exists, such as in the ISP business, the profit margins of the private companies are far more expensive than the extra cost of unionized workers. Maybe if the FCC stopped pretending that everything's fine
    • The food at the local soup kitchen is not truly free because I have to walk my ass over there to get it. Until the government is willing to come into my house and feed me intravenously while I'm lying in bed, I'm going to act indignant because I don't want to have to search out, chew, or digest my own food. F'ing government is always trying to screw me over with their supposedly "free" services that have all these hidden requirements.

    • That money would produce a safer city with more jobs if it was left to the citizens.

      And you don't wanna be messin with thousands of armed Cajuns - they got pushed out of their homes a couple hundred hears ago, and they ain't movin. Let them take care of stuff.

      Confession: I'm half Acadian.
    • The hurricane damage is evidence to me of the decay of government projects and the wasted taxpayer money. That money would produce a safer city with more jobs if it was left to the citizens.

      I disagree. Many things, like bridges, levees, streets, and building codes really have to be done collectively, i.e. through government. I realize that this is heresy to the people who call themselves Republicans these days, but I do not believe that their god -- "The Free Market" -- is a benevolent deity when it com

      • I am no Republican and no Republican has ever truly accepted the free market, they just use the term in order to sound pro-liberty. The Republican Party started it platform with Lincoln who was anti-free market and pro-government welfare of corporations.

        I actually believe that much of what you listed (bridges, levees, streets, and building codes) could be better provided by a competitive free market. Building codes, I believe, are the number one reason we see such losses as Katrina brought. Megabuilders
  • Uhhh (Score:2, Funny)

    by garrett714 (841216)
    I honestly hope this isn't their only solution for hurricanes / floods in the future.
    • Re:Uhhh (Score:3, Funny)

      by iSeal (854481)
      net send 192.168.*.* Please Evacuate. Incoming Hurricane.

      "Um sir, wasn't that disabled in XP SP2?"
      "Crap."
  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @02:46PM (#14140332) Homepage Journal
    I've not heard about this down here yet. It would be nice...but, frankly, without power and gas to be able to live back at my place...this isn't much use.

    I did find it useful the other day, to go to Cooter Brown's [cooterbrowns.com] and use their wireless while watching some football, and drinking some good beer...

  • by eobanb (823187) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @02:47PM (#14140345) Homepage
    for narrowing the digital divide. I usually hate over-used politicised terms like 'digital divide' but regardless, it does exist, and free widespread personal net access is key to spreading information to more people. While internet access from libraries and such is great, it's better still to have access in one's home.

    Imagine if electricity was not a public utility but a service offered by two or three price-gouging regional monopolies. A quick comparison of US broadband penetration and Europe's (largely) socialised system demonstrates why these sorts of projects are needed.
    • Imagine if electricity was not a public utility but a service offered by two or three price-gouging regional monopolies. A quick comparison of US broadband penetration and Europe's (largely) socialised system demonstrates why these sorts of projects are needed.

      Well, socialised internet connectivity is not as common in Europe than most americans think. Forcing telecoms to compete by making them lease their copper etc. has worked wonders.
      • Forcing telecoms to compete by making them lease their copper etc. has worked wonders.

        Oh? Let's see, I can get dsl access through sbc or, uh...huh.

        Yeah, or sbc. There is no one else in my area, and I'll be god damned if I give sbc a penny.

        Public operated city wide wifi paid through taxes is the way to force competition. SBC ( and other carriers ) would have to have a really good package for people to want to use it ( normal people. I'm sure the wifi wouldn't work for the geeks out there ).
    • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @03:01PM (#14140494) Homepage Journal
      I see the digital divide as caused by inept social programs, not fixed by them. The anti-poor and anti-minority regulations we have today destroy the access you want. Look at how the minimum wage [mises.org] destroys job opportunities for the poor and for minorities. The tax system we have in this country is even worse (most people pay only a tiny amount in actual IRS income tax but everyone pays a huge amount of their income for all the other taxes) for the poor.

      If you want to help the poor and the minorities break this digital divide, you need for them to have opportunities in life that give them reason to learn about the Internet and about information freedom. Our public education system does the absolutely opposite, as it gives the poor a basically free daycare system that offers their offspring the indoctrination in the system that hurt their parents' desire to break free.

      The only thing that really helps bring wealth to the poor is work -- hard work. Both my parents came to the U.S. with absolutely nothing, not even good comprehension of the language. Yet they both busted their rears so that my siblings and I would have better lives, and I work hard so that my children will have an even better opportunity.

      Don't blame the lack of Internet knowledge on ISPs. I'd rather see privated completely deregulated electrical service as well.
      • by LordKazan (558383) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @03:17PM (#14140633) Homepage Journal
        I'd rather see privated completely deregulated electrical service as well.

        When will you anarcho-capitalists actually take economics 100.

        Given
        A) A service that has a near zero elasticity of demand in relation to price
        B) Is infrastructure

        (Things Fitting A&B: Roads, Water, Sewer, Power, phone, cable, electricity, gas)
        You CANNOT deregulate, you CANNOT expect the "Free market" to ensure quality and low price.

        Infrastructure doesn't follow the normal rules because it's something that should not be duplicated concurrently - imagine having two roads systems, or two seperate water systems, power etc - there isn't the space to do it and the costs are prohibitive. This prevents normal competitive practices of the free-market and favors large intrenched monopolies

        Have you not been paying attention? power was deregulated in some areas - it resulted in artificially created roving blackouts to give the impression that demand exceeded supply so that price-gouging could occur.

        Adam Smith himself said that capitalism needs enforced rules to keep all parties treating each other fairly - why can you not recognize this?
        • Have you not been paying attention? power was deregulated in some areas - it resulted in artificially created roving blackouts to give the impression that demand exceeded supply so that price-gouging could occur.

          Apparently you haven't been paying that much attention. Most of Cali's problems came from partial deregulation. Wholesale prices were deregulated, but not consumer prices. That's a disaster waiting to happen.

          Now, PA has had a much more deregulated power economy. How many rolling blackouts have y
        • Actually demand for electricity SHOULD be directly affected by the price. I know when my electric bill is high one month, I notice for a new months when I leave my lights on, my TV on, and even cut back a little on other electrical usage (my projector, etc). The same is true for my natural gas and all that.

          I give almost $100 extra a month in tithes to my church to be put into a fund marked for poor families at my church so they can have basic utilities (including a Christian ISP). Guess what? Recently,
    • by FatRatBastard (7583) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @03:11PM (#14140581) Homepage
      Yes, because the digital divide is chock-full of people who are able to afford a laptop/desktop with a wi-fi card, but can't afford basic dial-up service. And as you can imagine, that's a large, large group.

      And slightly OT, but I'm going to laugh very hard and very long when the first "Municipal Wi-Fi blocking content" story hits /. Because we all know elected officials never want to block the citizens they represent from information....

      well, with kids yeah. We have to protect the kids. And you know how irresposible some parents can be. So lets put a huge filter on porn coming down the pipe. Tax dollars shouldn't pay for porn anyway.

      Oh, and smoking. Bad. Very bad. Lets ban any site that promotes smoking. Promotion of all things smoking over publicly financed wi-fi? I think not! You might as well just shove smokes in babies mouths.

      What? This site offends the sensiblities of [fill in religious group/cult of choice]? Block them too. We're all fine, upstanding [christians, jews, muslims, hindis, scientologists] and there's no way our community should have to see this.

      What? People are going to RELIGIOUS sites? Hasn't anyone heard of the seperation of church and state? If someone wants to cyber-pray let them pay for their own access.

      Hate speech. Who doesnt' hate hate speech? Of course! Its gone. ("by the way, what is hate speech?" "Ah.. the devil's in the details")

      Wal Mart? Do we really want our citizens helping keep that community killing, baby eating, spawn of satan corperation in business by allowing them to purchase cheap shit over our wi-fi? I think not! If you want to destroy mom and pop shops do it on your own nickel. ...
      • The machine I am currently using cost around two hundred quid on eBay over a year ago. It's a 1.2GHz Celeron and it has WiFi. That works out at around ten months of broadband Internet access here. If you can't afford a laptop, then you can buy a similar spec desktop for around the cost of two or three months broadband Internet access. I find it quite easy to believe that a family could afford a cheap PC, but not a decent Internet connection.
        • How many families that can't honestly afford dial-up (which is all you need for access to the internet) are going to drop a few hundered dollars on a computer? If finances are that tight then dropping a couple of hundred bucks on a computer is going to low down on the "must need" list. Free Wi-Fi has little to do with closing the digital divide then it does giving the middle class a nice, new entitlement. Throwing in the Digital Divide rhetoric just makes it a little more politically paletable.
    • I have some extended family that's not well off. (Think: low-income housing) They want to "have it all" but don't at all have the resources to do it well. (Think: Pentium-100, Win95)

      Using the cheapest ISP imaginable. It's amazing to me how much time they'll spend just trying to get online, and how much !@#!@# they'll put up with their painfully slow, virus-laden computer, just for the status and joy of "being online".

      They put up with the unbelievable to save $40. (Cost of antivirus) They do not understand t
  • *snort* when will they learn...
  • by artemis67 (93453) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @02:48PM (#14140352)
    ...for all five residents.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @02:51PM (#14140387)
    Cool! Now New Orleans residents will have the connectivity they need in order to email an SOS to FEMA, so they can come rescue them!

    This is much a better solution than spending that money on something as trivial as a safe levee system or housing for homeless people. This free wi-fi is actually working out quite well for them.
    • "Safe levee system" (Score:3, Informative)

      by Flying pig (925874)
      November Scientific American makes it clear that, owing to bad decisions made by the Army Corps of Engineers years ago, the timescale to solve the problems of New Orleans could be many years. Improving communications throughout the city will not make a significant dent in the funds available to solve the delta problems - which could run into tens of billions of dollars.
  • by xoip (920266)
    Not only have they lost customers and equipment...now they have to compete with the Gov't...so much for free enterprise
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @02:56PM (#14140438) Homepage
    Most of the city still doesn't have phone service. Getting enough WiFi up that people can use VoIP and get some basic web services will be a big help.
  • by maillemaker (924053) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @03:03PM (#14140503)
    I'm surprised at all the negativity about this.

    I'm also suprised at the lack of debate at the /real/ meat in this article - the fact that the big ISPs have already lobbied in places to hobble the speed of such WiFi networks.

    I think this is going to become a huge issue as WiFi and WiMax take off.

    My subdivision has some 500 houses in it. If half of them get high speed internet in some form, at $50/month they are paying out some $12,500 a month collectively for high speed internet access.

    What if our subdivision decided to set up it's own WiFi network? Yeah, I can see the ISPs getting real nervous about this.

    Also, I can see Cell Phone companies getting VERY nervous about this. If WiFi internet access becomes free and widespread, you won't need the cellular network anymore to make wireless phone calls. Just a portable wireless IP phone.

    No wonder the big Telecom industries are out to squelch this.

    Steve
    • My subdivision has some 500 houses in it. If half of them get high speed internet in some form, at $50/month they are paying out some $12,500 a month collectively for high speed internet access. What if our subdivision decided to set up it's own WiFi network?

      $50 here gets you 6 Mbit downstream, and about 1 Mbit upstream.

      500 of those gets you 3 gbit down, 0.5 gbit up. That's a lot more bandwidth than splitting 6 Mbit 500 ways.

      In fact, 6 Mbit split 500 ways is, what... 12Kbit/sec each? (and 2 KBit
  • WHY is it illegal for municipalities to provide free (tax-supported) wi-fi? The only justification I've heard is that this will prevent private industry from being able to make a profit from providing this same service (which in this day and age IS a utility, not a luxury).

    Y'know, if the same mentality were applied to some existing government services . . .

    (Caller): Help! My house is on fire!

    (Phone voice): Do you have a FlameOut (tm) customer ID number?

    (Caller): No, but my house is burni

  • So when the levy breaks, no one will really care about the wifi, they'll be getting the hell out of town. And since the wifi will go down, they won't be distracted by silly things like Everquest.

    Now, for the EMS services, backup APs will all be installed on inflatable begnets. They only come on once their depth gauge reaches 4'.

    When the levy breaks... I'll have no place to stay
  • And remember (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShatteredDream (636520) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @03:09PM (#14140569) Homepage
    This is the same New Orleans that had over 30% of its PD leave or actively engage in the unlawful activities plaguing it post-Katrina. This is the same New Orleans which is legendary for its corrupt local government and in a state that is almost synonymous with bad government to most southerners.

    Yet it's going to do a "good job" running WiFi. One of these days, the starry-eyed true believers will come to the painful realization that "democracy" has no proven track record on keeping governments working for the people and that local governments are one of the last groups you'd want to trust to run your communication network.

    Besides, let's just go ahead and put telescreens in our homes. It just blows my mind how anyone can in one breath whole-heartedly support government operation and/or ownership of the com. network and then complain about the Bush administration wiretapping us all a la 1984. Why not go ahead and put your toddler in a locked room with a dingo and then get self-righteously pissed off when your toddler gets mauled and eaten? Afterall, it's THEIR fault, right?

    Bullshit. You give the government control over the com. network on that scale and when your precious civil liberties go out the window, you'll be one of the few victims of bad government to legitimately laughed at by succeeding generations. The government will assert its sovereignty and say, "it's our network, use it our way or get off." Then you'll look around and there won't be any competition because your tax dollars subsidize the network to the point that the private sector cannot compete.

    All in the name of giving "poor" people (our poor are middle class by African standards) access to a network that all too often their volunary refusal to make use of their socialized education opportunities have rendered them incapable of exploiting.
  • ...due to mismanagement of funds, the New Orleans Wi-Fi system will only be able to withstand a CAT 2 slashdotting.
  • AM Radio (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ch-chuck (9622) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @03:11PM (#14140586) Homepage
    When I was involved in a week long power outage in Norfolk are after hurricane Isabel (2003) I found battery powered AM radio to be the best source of information. The announcers worked overtime and did a great job of letting us know what was going one. NOLA has WWl which can be picked up over much of the US - I listen to it to get first hand info on whats happening there. It's simple, cheap, and works.
  • New Orleans will deploy a city wide wi-fi network with free public access.

    Wow, this just makes me want to come back in live in a crime-ridden city with the worst police force and most corrupt politicians in the country, x-number of feet below sea level protected by dikes and levies constructed by the lowest bidder. Yup, free Wi-Fi will certainly make all the difference here.

  • Restriction? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Why the hell is there a 144Kbps restriction?
    • Re:Restriction? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BushCheney08 (917605) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @03:15PM (#14140620)
      Why the hell is there a 144Kbps restriction?

      Duh! It's because someone was paid a nice chunk of change to put it there.
      • I wonder if there is a set duration on that speed. i.e. over how long is it measured. If it is not codified, then they can easily offer 144Kb/s as an average speed when measured over the next 50 years (per computer). Any computer that downloads more than 26TB is kicked off until 2055...
  • Priorities??????? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by acoustix (123925) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @03:19PM (#14140660) Homepage
    It seems to me they have more important goals than providing free wifi at this point. I can think of several:

    -schools
    -police
    -electricity
    -water
    -sewage

    I could go on, but you get the point.

    -Ncik
  • municipal wi-fi. It is going to come down to a competition between municipal funded wi-fi vs. ad funded wi-fi, with the later ultimatly wining out. As computers and wi-fi hardware gets cheaper, we will definitly see ads be sufficient to fund the hardware/support needed. Corporations can sell ad space more efficiently than govt. so I think we'll see them win in the end when hardware gets cheap enough. For now, there's a short period of time where this model makes sense. In any case, this will be interesting.
  • Why is there a state law mandating a cap on municipal internet services? What was the reasoning behind that? I'd guess it was lobbying by existing providers, who didn't want 'unfair competition' from the G.

    Part of me wonders greatly at what good wifi will do the people in NO at the moment. Do they all have power? Do they all have running and potable water? Do they have roofs? Do they even have computers with wifi cards? The other part of me realizes that wifi could be very, very useful to ongoing e
  • YAY! (Score:2, Funny)

    Sweet, now I'll be able to play mario Kart when I go back to NO on christmas.
  • New Orleans is ranked eighth on this most dangerous cities list as of 2004 [morganquitno.com]. That's pre-hurricane data. My sources have their state and local governments as one of the most corrupt in the US. Would you walk around this city with a laptop? You could paint a target on your back too.
  • mardi gras (Score:2, Funny)

    by GadoBone (934512)
    Wonderful. Now there will live streaming web cams from every balcony, every window, and probably every bathroom. It's just what the internet needed more of...on the government dollar.
  • I think anybody savvy enough to need WiFi is smart enough not to move back below sea level after having it demonstrated to them that the local government accepts massive drownings every generation or so as "the cost of doing business".
  • New Orleans WiFi (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Heembo (916647)
    My understanding is that it is already deployed in the French Quarter, and will be citiwide in a year. But at 512kbps now, and 128kbps in a year (after the state of emergency is over) - seems rather slow. But not bad for free service while roaming around town. :) In fact here is the entire article from CNN to save you a click: http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/internet/11/29/wirele ss.neworleans.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005; Posted: 2:40 p.m. EST (19:40 GMT)
    NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Hurrican
  • Even doing a free city-wide 144Kbps wireless network would be pretty cool.
    My city sure ain't got that.

    At that speed you can check your mail, send mail, chat, etc.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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