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BellSouth To New Orleans: Drop Dead
BellSouth gets my vote for Evil Telecom Giant of the Year. Consider its latest move: After New Orleans announced plans to deploy a city-owned Wi-Fi network BellSouth angrily withdrew its offer to repair a damaged building that would house the beleagured city's police headquarters.
According to the Washington Post, the New Orleans police have no central police headquarters at the moment, and are scattered around the city. BellSouth was going to repair a building with 250,000 square feet of usable space so the police could have a central facility.
But then New Orleans announced a free Wi-Fi network that would blanket the city's central business district and French Quarter. The network is also used by police and city agencies, to speed up recovery of the city. New Orleans needs to find some way to jump-start its dead economy. Free Wi-Fi won't do it alone, but it's a good start.
When BellSouth heard about the free network, the Post says, its withdrew its offer of help.
Greg Meffert, New Orleans' chief technology officer and a deputy mayor, said of the network, and BellSouth's response: "It's a once-in-a-century opportunity to truly show the entire world what can be, instead of just what is, and help write future history in the process. It's a damn shame they don't see that."
BellSouth, like other telecom giants, doesn't want to see municipal Wi-Fi, because that service might eat into the company's profits. Its been fighting behind the scenes, and paying off legislators...excuse me, I mean making campaign donations and paying lobbyist fees...in order to stop municipal Wi-Fi in its tracks.
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