New Orleans Municipal WiFi Going Dark

What bullshit! Not surprising, but ridiculous nonetheless. Ars Technica just reported that the city-wide New Orleans Municipal WiFi will soon be shutdown in favor of a pay service from Earthlink. Apparently Earthlink will continue to offer 128kbps wireless for free for “as long as the city is rebuilding.”

This was a great idea that was castrated early-on by laws that are overly friendly to businesses. Speeds were initially capped at 512kbps due to opposition from ISPs serving the area and were then setback to 128kbps to further appease said ISPs.

So later this year, Earthlink will deploy a wireless network that spans roughly 20 square miles. It will reach the French Quarter, Garden District, Algiers (on the West Bank) and the CBD, with plans to expand as demand increases. It’s great that the city will have such prevalent wireless access, but I hate the fact that the free service is being ditched in favor of a pay one. Grumble.

New Orleans to take city-wide WiFi network offline [Ars Technica]