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milkmania
11-29-2005, 06:16 PM
you gotta move to New Orleans:rolleyes:

Big Easy Launches Free Wireless System

By ALAN SAYRE







NEW ORLEANS - 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.

Hundreds of similar projects in other cities have met with stiff opposition from phone and cable TV companies, which have poured money into legislative bills aimed at blocking competition from government agencies _ including a state law in Louisiana that needed to be sidestepped for the New Orleans project.

The city had been working on a Wi-Fi network before Hurricane Katrina struck Aug. 29, and police already were using the wireless system to monitor street security cameras.

Nagin said Katrina, which knocked out communications throughout the region, frustrating coordination of relief efforts, showed the need for a more-advanced system.



In case of another storm, the network will be able to connect telephone calls via the Internet.

"What we learned is a network like this is important as a backup in case all other communications fail," the mayor said.

The system uses hardware mounted on street lights. Most of the $1 million in equipment was donated by three companies: Intel Corp., Tropos Networks Inc. and Pronto Networks. The companies also plan to donate equipment for the citywide expansion.

The network uses "mesh" technology to pass the wireless signal from pole to pole rather than each Wi-Fi transmitter being plugged directly into a physical network cable. That way, laptop users will be able to connect even in areas where the wireline phone network will take time to restore.

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.

The service will remain free for residents and businesses after the state of emergency ends.

Phone and cable TV companies have fiercely opposed attempts at creating new taxpayer-owned utilities. The companies contend competition from government-run Internet service stymies their incentive to invest in upgrading their networks and services.

Critics have said commercial networks are often too expensive for the lower-income residents being targeted by the free or low-cost services now being considered by hundreds of municipalities around the country.

But David Grabert, a spokesman for Cox Communications, a major cable TV and high-speed Internet provider in the New Orleans area, said the Atlanta-based company welcomes the competition.

"This is a relatively slow-speed service, and we don't look at it, at this point, as major competition for our high-speed service," Grabert said. "We're ready to compete with all comers."

Many cities have partnered with private companies to build and operate their networks. Philadelphia, for example, is developing a citywide system that will be run by Earthlink Inc., unlike the New Orleans owned-and-operated system.

Nagin, who was Cox's top executive in New Orleans before his election in 2002, said the city system would be "just one of several options" residents would have to get Internet service.

At 512 kbps, the New Orleans network is about seven times the speed of dial-up service, but slower than high-speed services provided by telephone and cable TV companies. Users will have to sign up with the city for an account.

Greg Meffert, the city's technology director, conceded that private providers might have problems with the system.

"In the end, my job is to work for the city and what the city needs," he said. "I'll stand behind that."

A service of the Associated Press(AP)

BrianM
11-29-2005, 06:32 PM
Saw this article on the local news web page a little earlier. Should be pretty nice if they get it up and running. This place has been terrible for WiFi sites didn't have it in the airport or any major facility before. Just a few coffee chops with hot spots.

Things are looking up. The antennas are on top of street lights. Hope the main equipment is on the second or third floor somewhere or it is going to get wet. :eek:

We have a bumper sticker around here that a lot of people have. "New Orleans Proud to Call Home" Saw a look alike on someones car a couple of nights ago with a little different wording "New Orleans Proud to Swim Home" Gotta love this bathtub we call a city. :cool:

bigmac
11-29-2005, 06:39 PM
you gotta move to New Orleans:rolleyes:

Big Easy Launches Free Wireless System




............................(edit)

Never mind.

I was going to make a snide comment, but on reflection, city-wide free internet access for a city with the extensive disenfranchised population that New Orleans has, especially now, is a pretty good idea. I'm not sure about the logical place for such a project in the New Orleans' list of priorities, but the idea is nobly egalitarian.

BrianM
11-29-2005, 07:17 PM
Even with wireless internet we are still the third world of the US.

milkmania
11-29-2005, 07:57 PM
personally, I think it's a wonderful idea

I met a guy that had been on active duty to help families from the hurricanes, he said Iraq didn't even compare to the turmoil these people were facing.

Leroy
11-29-2005, 08:56 PM
There are so many other things the city needs instead of free wi-fi. Do they even have PC's use? I'll step in for you BigMac!

Another blunder by a mayor that has shown incompetence at every turn.....but I'm sure like Brian says the great city of New Orleans will overcome. I generally don't get involved in politics, but the NO Mayor and LA Governor showed why it is so important to vote....

So they have free wi-fi, think SBC will rush as quickly with phone service realizing the revenue loss from not getting any DSL small business or residential customers....

BrianM
11-29-2005, 09:12 PM
Another blunder by a mayor that has shown incompetence at every turn.....but I'm sure like Brian says the great city of New Orleans will overcome. I generally don't get involved in politics, but the NO Mayor and LA Governor showed why it is so important to vote....

So they have free wi-fi, think SBC will rush as quickly with phone service realizing the revenue loss from not getting any DSL small business or residential customers....

Have to disagree with you here on a couple of things.

Given the circumstances I think that Nagin (the mayor) has done everything in his power through this whole thing. Yeah he has made some mistakes but overall I think he has done an outstanding job. He comes from a business not a political background and does his best to try and run this place like a business and not the political cronyism, currupt, welfare state, inept way this city has been run in the past. He has been throwing out ideas and thinking out of the box both before and after the storm. Not all of it sticks but at least the guy is giving it the old college try. I live in a subarb of NO and unfortunately can't vote for Orleans mayor but I do follow the politics and he would have had my vote four years ago and would get it again in the upcoming (February) election.

Blanco (the governor) on the other hand has been miserable. She has been week, ineffective and slow to respond on every level worst of all she continues to do the same things over and over. She was the one who hesitated to send in the National Guard until days after the storm when thing had gotten out of hand and mass looting was taking place. I didn't vote for her and never will but unfortunately she has 2+ years to go.

FEMA has been a disaster. Everything you hear on the national news about them being days late and $$ short is true and in reality it is actually worse than it seems.

As for WiFi. The equipment was apparently donated so why the heck not. It will probably be up and running much faster than the phone, cell phone and power companies. Communication in the city is still spotty. Plus the service isn't going to be even close to as fast as a dedicated high speed line. It will just be nice to have the access for laptops now and in the future. Remember 50% of the city still doesn't have power and today is 3 months to the day after the storm.

Edit:

Here are some first hand pictures of what about 50% of the houses and streets in New Orleans look like. This was my Mom's house (about 10 blocks from the 17th St. Canal levee break) that had been renovated two years ago and was/is in one of the most beautiful and desirable neighborhoods in the city. It is now ready for the dozer. The picture in the lower left shows the waterline which was right at the top of the doors and her house was about 3.5 feet off of the ground.

Leroy
11-29-2005, 09:27 PM
Well Brian, hearing it from you gives me reason to believe Nagin is not as bad as he appears as I look at him from the outside. Fully accept your happiness with him, and I did like that he at least got out and started talking quickly after the storm.


On the DSL, still a mistake. Maybe they tried to get SBC and Cox to offer special internet service now and they refused so Nagin stuck it to them! It was a 1M donation that will take 3M-10M per year in overhead/maintenance/help desk. Who maintains the DSL once installed? WHo is the help desk? I would say get 100% power (wow, still at 50%!), normal telco lines, business tax incentives, bourbon street, getting ready for fat Tuesday....

Ric
11-29-2005, 09:33 PM
Have to disagree with you here on a couple of things.

Given the circumstances I think that Nagin (the mayor) has done everything in his power through this whole thing. Yeah he has made some mistakes but overall I think he has done an outstanding job. He comes from a business not a political background and does his best to try and run this place like a business and not the political cronyism, currupt, welfare state, inept way this city has been run in the past. He has been throwing out ideas and thinking out of the box both before and after the storm. Not all of it sticks but at least the guy is giving it the old college try. I live in a subarb of NO and unfortunately can't vote for Orleans mayor but I do follow the politics and he would have had my vote four years ago and would get it again in the upcoming (February) election.

Blanco (the governor) on the other hand has been miserable. She has been week, ineffective and slow to respond on every level worst of all she continues to do the same things over and over. She was the one who hesitated to send in the National Guard until days after the storm when thing had gotten out of hand and mass looting was taking place. I didn't vote for her and never will but unfortunately she has 2+ years to go.

FEMA has been a disaster. Everything you hear on the national news about them being days late and $$ short is true and in reality it is actually worse than it seems.

As for WiFi. The equipment was apparently donated so why the heck not. It will probably be up and running much faster than the phone, cell phone and power companies. Communication in the city is still spotty. Plus the service isn't going to be even close to as fast as a dedicated high speed line. It will just be nice to have the access for laptops now and in the future. Remember 50% of the city still doesn't have power and today is 3 months to the day after the storm.
Brian I talked with a family member over Thanksgiving with many family ties to the big easy who pretty much echoes the statements you wrote here. No kidding we outside your area still only get news based on minorities.

In talking to him I realized that his moms house was near the broken levy.
she among others took awhile to realize they werent going back
she bought in baton rouge after bidding much over asking price on a home( a trend we dont hear about on the news)
its only one example of just how far new orleans is from ever being a city again

east tx skier
11-29-2005, 09:48 PM
Well some things must be up and running in N.O. My father in law was just sent there over Dallas and Houston to have a stint put in yesterday. Due to the close proximity of the arterial blockage to his aorta, a doctor in New Orleans was the top choice. All went well, although he may have to go back for another in another artery in a few months.

Ric
11-29-2005, 09:50 PM
Well some things must be up and running in N.O. My father in law was just sent there over Dallas and Houston to have a stint put in yesterday. Due to the close proximity of the arterial blockage to his aorta, a doctor in New Orleans was the top choice. All went well, although he may have to go back for another in another artery in a few months.
Well thank God he's ok!
Did they fly him to NO on an emergency or what?

BrianM
11-29-2005, 09:52 PM
Well some things must be up and running in N.O. My father in law was just sent there over Dallas and Houston to have a stint put in yesterday. Due to the close proximity of the arterial blockage to his aorta, a doctor in New Orleans was the top choice. All went well, although he may have to go back for another in another artery in a few months.

Did he go to Ochsner? My wife works there. They never went down through the storm.

And yes, things are getting up and running but the neighborhoods are still in terrible shape and will be for a very long time. And we are still just a shell of our former selves. There was a news report today that the New Orleans area had just over 3000 resturaunts before the storm and just 26% of them are back open as of yesterday.

east tx skier
11-29-2005, 09:53 PM
Don't know. My wife should be back any minute. It has a hotel attached to it is about all the information I got.

BrianM
11-29-2005, 09:56 PM
Don't know. My wife should be back any minute. It has a hotel attached to it is about all the information I got.

It had to be Oschner. They are the only ones I know of with the hotel attached. They are supposedly one of the top hospitals in the nation.

east tx skier
11-29-2005, 09:58 PM
That was what he was told. They bumped him up a day. 99.9% blocked. Other side is a little better, but will have to be dealt with soon.

Leroy
11-30-2005, 08:27 AM
Best wishes to your FIW Doug.

Another indicator of how bad it still is. Cudo's to the Mayor for doing this!

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/11/29/neworleans.townhall/index.html

east tx skier
11-30-2005, 10:57 AM
Thanks, Leroy. Brian, it was Oschner.

phecksel
11-30-2005, 11:32 AM
Couple of friends near Baton Rouge had a discussion about how NOLA is not going to come back. They speculated there will be a small downtown tourist area, and some nearby support type residents, but even Nagin has to realize the city is gone.

BrianM
11-30-2005, 11:47 AM
Couple of friends near Baton Rouge had a discussion about how NOLA is not going to come back. They speculated there will be a small downtown tourist area, and some nearby support type residents, but even Nagin has to realize the city is gone.

I am fairly pesimistic about if and how this city is going to come back but I really don't think the outlook is quite that bleak. I think the reality is that the city not including the outlying subarbs is going to be about 1/2 of what it was for the foreseeable future. In a way I think that is a good thing. I think New Orleans was a city that needed a little cleansing.

bigmac
11-30-2005, 12:33 PM
I am fairly pesimistic about if and how this city is going to come back but I really don't think the outlook is quite that bleak. I think the reality is that the city not including the outlying subarbs is going to be about 1/2 of what it was for the foreseeable future. In a way I think that is a good thing. I think New Orleans was a city that needed a little cleansing.


Despite New Orleans' attempts at reduction at crime and corruption over the last 10 years (with some success), it is/was one of the most crime-ridden and corrupt cities in the US. It remains to be seen how they will use the opportunities presented in the aftermath of Katrina to reshape the city and finally shake off some of those issues. If they do it right, it could be a good thing in the end. If they do it right...

Regardless, they certainly need to rethink the concept of building residential areas in the bottom of a bathtub. Someday, a storm like Katrina is going to happen to them again, and despite the current flurry of resolve, we Americans as a nation have proven again and again that we tend to have a rather short attention span.

Leroy
11-30-2005, 12:42 PM
I read somewhere unemployment in NO was ~35%....meaning they needed about 30% more jobs or 30% fewer people.....


You can't have that many people out of work and not have problems.

I think the part of NO that most of us see will be back with little difference in couple of years.

BrianM
11-30-2005, 12:54 PM
Despite New Orleans' attempts at reduction at crime and corruption over the last 10 years (with some success), it is/was one of the most crime-ridden and corrupt cities in the US. It remains to be seen how they will use the opportunities presented in the aftermath of Katrina to reshape the city and finally shake off some of those issues. If they do it right, it could be a good thing in the end. If they do it right...

Regardless, they certainly need to rethink the concept of building residential areas in the bottom of a bathtub. Someday, a storm like Katrina is going to happen to them again, and despite the current flurry of resolve, we Americans as a nation have proven again and again that we tend to have a rather short attention span.

To the first part I will give it a Tru Dat!

For the second... Although the original city was built on the high ground of the banks of the Mississippi River over the past century the city has expanded into the bathtub that was once the swamp. Not a smart idea but unfortunately that is long in the past and we have to live with it. People that own this land are not going to just walk away from it because a hurricane will come through and wipe them out every once in a while. Just like the people in Florida they will rebuild and take their chances although here taking your chances means flooding not just wind. The solution to the bathtub is exactly as the Dutch have done. A very complex and expensive system of levees, flood gates etc to protect from storm surge flooding. Now whether we are going to be able or willing to pay for that kind of system is yet to be seen. The fact of the matter is NOLA is a very important port city. Something like 30% of the US oil and gas comes through the southern LA coast. Not to mention the grain, steel, cargo, etc that comes through the port. Although extremely expensive I think it is worth it to protect it.

bcampbe7
11-30-2005, 01:31 PM
you gotta move to New Orleans:rolleyes:

Big Easy Launches Free Wireless System



This is a great idea and I wish more cities would follow NO.

On the other hand, you can go to most any sub division in your area and get free wireless internet. ;)