New Orleans goes Wi-Fi
Hurricane-ravaged New Orleans will deploy the nation’s first municipally owned wireless Internet system that will be free for all users, part of an effort to jump-start recovery by making living and doing business in the city as attractive as possible.
The system, which Mayor C. Ray Nagin is scheduled to announce at a news conference today, also will be used by law enforcement and for an array of city government functions, such as speeding approval of building permits.
IMO, this will do more for New Orleans’ homeland security efforts than anything else they’ve done so far. The primary failure of New Orleans during Katrina was not a lack of resources or people, it was a complete breakdown of communication. There is no standard, there is no unified backbone. The nifty thing about wi-fi is it can do a lot more than cruise the internet. And, it doesn’t rely totally on mechanical connections. If New Orleans floods again, and this wi-fi system is up and running, their communications should not be crippled. Heck, it might not even be interrupted or disturbed.
This is the one shining point of post-Katrina New Orleans I have seen so far. DHS needs to start implementing wi-fi in all vulnerable cities. Now.