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Louisiana Gov. Blasts Faulty Wireless Networks

WASHINGTON — Struggling to cope with widespread chaos in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco blasted telecommunications providers for the apparent collapse of the state's wireless network.

"The communications network is completely gone," Blanco said Thursday (Sept. 1) as the situation in New Orleans grew more chaotic by the hour. Blanco said wireless networks throughout the state remained down, and that state officials were unable to use hand-held communications devices like Blackberrys.

Hurricane Katrina has again exposed shortcomings in emergency communications networks and the vulnerability of wireless networks during emergencies. Critics said more spectrum needs to be earmarked for emergency communications, and that networks need more redundancy to function in disasters.

As of Friday, calls to hurricane relief centers in Louisiana were still not being answered. The only response was that "all circuits are busy."