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December 01, 2005

Easy to Launch Muni-Fi in Big Easy, But Speed Killed in Near Future

Gr2005112900048New Orleans has expanded its previous Tropos-based municipal Wi-Fi network, once used exclusively for public safety: The new network was supposed to be announced today, and most equipment was donated. New Orleans will maintain and operate the system which will start with Internet access in the French Quarter and central business district, two of the less damaged areas.

Louisiana has a law that restricts municipal networks to 144 Kbps, but New Orleans is exempt under emergency rules. They'll run at 512 Kpbs until the emergency is declared over. They plan to outsource their operations, which may allow them to divest their municipal limitations.

The reporter notes the appeal of municipal wireless in the city: "For them, moving to a permanent wireless system is a matter of survival for a city whose future remains uncertain." The map at upper right shows phone and DSL availability at the moment in New Orleans (click through to the article for the full-scale version).

This new network should relieve pressure on licensed-band communications. The city had already migrated to VoIP service before Hurricane Katrina.

Tropos had a number of its units in New Orleans prior to the hurricane; they supplied another 100, donating half and Intel paying for the other half.

Posted by dymaxion at December 1, 2005 11:26 PM


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