Big Easy Launches Free Wireless System ~ By ALAN SAYRE
(AP) - To help boost its stalled economy, hurricane-ravaged New Orleans
is offering the nation's first free wireless Internet network
owned and run by a major city.
Mayor Ray Nagin said Tuesday the system would benefit residents and small businesses who still can't get their Internet service
restored over the city's washed out telephone network, while showing the nation ``that we are building New Orleans back.''
The system started operation Tuesday in the central business district and French Quarter. It's to be available throughout the city in about a year.
Hundreds of similar projects in other cities have met with stiff opposition from phone
and cable TV companies, which have poured money
into legislative bills aimed at blocking competition from government
agencies - including a state law in Louisiana that needed to be sidestepped for the New Orleans project