Friday, December 22, 2006

A WiFi Catch 22 in New Orleans

New Orleans needs free WiFi to help it rebuild. I happily posted that New Orleans was going this route back in November of 2005. There were some setbacks with other companies fighting Earthlink, and then the driving force behind this, Greg Meffert, resigned. But things were moving forward. Then yesterday I heard from Earthling that Earthlink's WiFi system was up and running in much of New Orleans. Great. But it's not in my neighborhood. In a nutshell, if your neighborhood did not flood, then you have access to free WiFi, but if your neighborhood did flood, you're out of luck. The city says the service will be free as long as the city is rebuilding, but the service is only available in places that didn't flood, and hence don't need to rebuild. I would argue that the flooded neighborhoods need the WiFi access more than anywhere else in America. For example, I won't be able to get a phone line working in my house for years, and with information and building permits online, it would make much of the rebuilding process easier and safer. But for Earthlink, it's a business and not a charity. They are hoping that they will profit by selling higher-speed wireless service to those who want a faster connection on the network. Moreover, in the area now covered by Earthlink, there are many of the city's businesses. Earthlink is hoping that these businesses will purchase the faster service, and then this "will guarantee the financial viablity of the network as it moves forward."

I hope to be finished rebuilding my house in one year, 18 months at the most. It would be nice if my Mid-City neighborhood was covered by Earthlink's WiFinetwork before then.


Anonymous said...

Your analysis of the situation is right on, except I would note that there is a bit of rebuilding going on in non-flooded portions of the city was well -- wind damage, you know. But it's nothing like the flooded areas. We need WiFi in Mid-City!

Michael Homan said...

B is correct in that there is rebuilding going on in neighborhoods that didn't flood, especially in the CBD, and as he said, "nothing like the flooded areas."

Anonymous said...

Michael, I appreciate the time you took to sit down with me back in September and show me around Mid-City, as well as your interest in bringing EarthLink Wi-Fi service to your area. It was jarring to hear of your difficulties in getting any type of affordable home communication services, so much so that I mentioned it when I wrote up our meeting. As I explained back then, Mid-City was not part of the Phase 1 coverage map but it's an area we will consider as a possible part of Phase 2. I agree that that the service could be particularly beneficial for folks in neighborhoods that are coming back from flood damage and have few reasonable options for home communications services.

Michael Homan said...

I have nothing against Earthlink, and especially nothing against Earthling. I am happy that WiFi is coming to New Orleans. From a business point of view, the phase 1 map makes sense. But from a needs point of view, or a way to make the world a whole much better place screw money point of view, we in Mid-City and the other flooded neighborhoods could sure use the WiFi.

Anonymous said...

what about us poor bastards here in the eight ward?

we have rebuilt as much as mid-city!!!!!!!

just like youse guys we did it with no help from the parish or the state.

plus we promise to guard our scary abanoned buildings against kiddie crimanals during krewe of dreux.

come on mid city. can you make that promise?

wifi in the eight ward baby!!!!!!!!!

some wi-fi would be pretty damn nice.

tax the damn fucking disater touristas and they could pay for it

smiles and a happy new years orleans parish.

this ad paid for by the gentilly is cooler than mid-city, cats and kitties.

i'm gentilly and i aprove of this message :')