New Orleans has the dubious distinction today of launching the first city-owned WiFi network that's free for all users. Louisiana law prohibits any locality from offering Internet connection speeds of more than 144 Kbps. New Orleans officials estimate their WiFi service will offer 512 Kbps, but since the city is still under a state of emergency, it gets a pass. The aim of the service, of course, is to attract people and businesses back to the area while also aiding law enforcement and city government workers. The city will own and operate all components of the network, and since most firms donated the necessary equipment, the initial cost to the city is minimal. Tropos Networks and Intel were among those companies that donated the infrastructure. The service is up and running in the central business district and French Quarter and plans to expand to other neighborhoods in the future.
For more on New Orleans' free WiFi:
- read this article from The Washington Post