Wednesday, April 05, 2006

laissez le 'wireless mesh networking' roulez!

Laissez it you worthless bastards in the Louisana State legislature.
Hurricane Katrina was a poison gumbo of devastation, plague, oppression and chaos. The closest I ever got to New Orleans was the Cajun Kitchen Restaurant on Mass Ave in Back Bay. I always put off travelling around the US, but New Orleans was high on that list. It's a horrifying thing to watch part of your country be submerged by a preventable deluge. Especially here in Holland I get remarks about the poor sense of national waterworks engineering and its importance. This, BTW is because NL has the world's longest dam, the world's largest port and a set of doors near said port which can close off the river which feeds it if its flow gets too heavy.

In the ongoing rebuilding, a wireless mesh network was constructed, offering free 512 kB/s access constructed from $1 million in parts and labor. Although ad-hoc, this has proved an unimaginable boon to the businesses trying to restart themselves.
So, any sign of NO's rebirth, phoenix-like, is a narrative I like to see evidence for. Of course, any good narrative needs some villains, and the telco reps from the local cable and Ma Bell chime in to put the squeeze on the Big Easy:
David Grabert, a spokesman for Cox Communications, a major telecommunications provider in New Orleans, said the company backs the state's Fair Competition Act, which would end the city's legal authority to continue operating the system at full speed after the state of emergency ends.
They point to the state law which says they can't offer 512 service for free, so they will have to downgrade it to 128 to be competitive with private business models.
As if these people haven't suffered enough, now Ma Bell and her cable cronies want to give them shitty broadband. I'm the first one to admit that I make wrong predictions: I said a few days ago that South Korea would give all the residents of its capital city jetpacks before a major US city gets municipal wireless broadband. But here one major city already has.

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