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December 06, 2005

BellSouth pulls building deal after Big Easy offers free WiFi

From the Washington Post...

Hours after New Orleans officials announced Tuesday that they would deploy a city-owned, wireless Internet network in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, regional phone giant BellSouth Corp. withdrew an offer to donate one of its damaged buildings that would have housed new police headquarters, city officials said yesterday.

According to the officials, the head of BellSouth's Louisiana operations, Bill Oliver, angrily rescinded the offer of the building in a conversation with New Orleans homeland security director Terry Ebbert, who oversees the roughly 1,650-member police force.

City officials said BellSouth was upset about the plan to bring high-speed Internet access for free to homes and businesses to help stimulate resettlement and relocation to the devastated city. Around the country, large telephone companies have aggressively lobbied against localities launching their own Internet networks, arguing that they amount to taxpayer-funded competition. Some states have laws prohibiting them.

Okay, I kinda have to side with BellSouth on this. The last thing any part of this country needs is for the internet to be run like the post office. I don't have wireless internet because I can't afford the expensive modem, nor a laptop. Why not offer something that makes sense like free tune-ups on Rolls Royces?

The point is: if you can afford a laptop and a wireless modem, then you sure as heck don't need people who can't afford those things to pay for internet access for you through the taxes forced from them. Give me a break! 

Posted by Danny Carlton at December 6, 2005 05:43 AM

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