More corporate bullying: BellSouth tries to turn off New Orleans WiFi

New Orleans has been devastated, with Mother Nature rolling her semi through the middle. But now in the middle re-building efforts, BellSouth is trying to get the city-wide WiFi network shut down.

After Katrina ravaged the Big Easy six months ago, Greg Meffert, the city’s chief information officer, got downtown businesses back online by opening the city’s wireless mesh network—originally deployed to link surveillance cameras—to anyone who needed it. For free.

What’s sad is that the city is still in need of the network, whether or not the immediate disaster is over or not. The network provides not only emergency services, but also a way to connect the residents. The CIO has mentioned that he will “go to jail” if that’s what it takes because the telcos are pushing the matter.

“If I have to go to jail, I guess I will,” he said. “If they really want to play that game, I guess they are right. But we simply cannot turn off these few lifelines we have to our city and businesses.”

This is simply a sad case. Really. Telcos have nothing better to do but to pick on New Orleans? Really now, it’s not like they hooked it up for free. Someone is paying for it. It’s similar to if we bought pizza and handed it out to everyone, that Domino’s comes by and says “No! You can’t do that!”. Like Domino’s would ever bother. Get a grip, telcos and go chase your pots of gold elsewhere.
Via RedHerring