NOLA Mayor: I need 512kbps WiFi, man…

Ray Nagin - AFP file photoNew Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has announced a plan to blanket the entire city in free WiFi within a year to help boost the economy:

“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.

Because the next time the levees are breached, residents can rejoice knowing they can still check their email while trapped in their attics.

[ * Post title is a reference to a previous Nagin quote]

10 Comments
  1. 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.

    Does anyone else find it odd that Louisiana law concerns itself with maximum WiFi speeds?

    Yours truly,
    Nick

    …curious…

  2. Nick, it’s to keep the government-subsidized service from killing off competition. The article states there’s no incentive for telcos to upgrade pay services when the gov is handing it out for free.

  3. Sweet. Now flood victims can email FEMA. If that doesn’t work they can email Michael Brown’s new disaster relief firm (granted he is not stuck in a two-hour gourmet dinner).

  4. The sad thing is, this vote buying scheme for the Feburary elections will be unnecessary. Tomorrow, the Louisiana Secretary of State is expected to cancel the Feburary elections in New Orleans.

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