Monday, October 30, 2006

"Big Easy WiFi to Go Dark "

A bit more on the premature withdrawal of the free city-owned WiFi system in New Orleans in favor of private provider Earthlink is provided by the industry magazine "Light Reading."

The fact that, in the long run, the city has no real choice but to pull its system down if Earthlink doesn't choose to integrate it, doesn't make the story. But this one does make the obvious tie to New Orlean's CIO/tech-hero -of-Katrina's Greg Meffert's stepping down last month. Meffert had promised that the city's network would remain up and free under an arrangement with Earthlink. That commitment has vanished.

What this story adds is a bit of an update on the commercial ambitions of Earthlink and how Earthlink intends to use its wireless network to promote proprietary services. There's a national-level story there for someone who wants to follow out the commercial side of Earthlinks widespread support for municipal wireless....the plot thickens.

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