Sunday, December 04, 2005

BellSouth Withdraws Katrina Aid Over WiFi

The Washington Post is reporting that the huge telecom company BellSouth has withdrawn an offer to donate a damaged building to the police department of New Orleans because the city has proposed offering free WiFi.

According to the officials, the head of BellSouth's Louisiana operations, Bill Oliver, angrily rescinded the offer of the building in a conversation with New Orleans homeland security director Terry Ebbert, who oversees the roughly 1,650-member police force.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

While the company disputes the city's version of events, it is true that BellSouth and others have consistently been fighting municipal efforts to bring free Internet access to local users.

Customers of BellSouth might consider contacting the company to see if they will indeed follow through on their promise to help the police, and the people of New Orleans. Also, since telecom is a federally regulated industry, others might consider contacting their elected federal representatives to express their thoughts regarding efforts against free Internet access.

via BoingBoing


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