Beer with the Earthling

September 14th, 2006 by Editor B

Michael and I met Dave Coustan (a.k.a. the Earthling) at Finn McCool’s yesterday after work, to talk about Mid-City’s desperate thirst for WiFi.

Earthling Meets Michael

Earthlink is working to bring free WiFi to New Orleans. They’re naturally inclined to focus on the most populous areas first, that is the unflooded areas. We’ve been trying to make the argument that the need is greater in a devastated area like Mid-City, which was flooded but is coming back fast. There’s lots of people living and working in Mid-City, and we need WiFi. Traditional landline systems (DSL, cable) are taking too long to rebuild. BellSouth told Michael he’d have to wait two or three years for a phone!

So we were bending Dave’s ear about that, just trying to keep the issue alive in the corporate mind of Earthlink.

Big thanks to Alan for helping us hook up.

7 Responses to “Beer with the Earthling”

  1. Brooks Says:

    While I will be the first to say that some service is better than no service-it would seem that this is a really complicated issue legally and that anything even coming close to resembling high speed access is not going to happen for free-both because of the way that Earthlink designs it and also because, suprise suprise, Louisiana has some laws that actually PREVENT this kind of access.

    http://wifinetnews.com/archives/006607.html

    Though, if decent access was available for $20 bucks, I would be all about it at home. Right now, the Cox thing is just crazy money for ok access and you have to bundle it with all of that other stuff that I don’t really care about (not much of a TV guy since the storm-am I the only person that has happened to? I just don’t have the time and when I do, I seem to be able to find something more interesting to do). It would be nice to just pay and have it work everywhere, more or less, instead of being plugged into a cable or limited by distance to my wireless point.

  2. Jenny Says:

    How do people use the internet now? Not?

  3. Editor B Says:

    We met at Finn McCool’s because they offer wifi on the premises. There are various coffeshops and such offering wifi to draw people in. But at home, I have no internet except of course for my Blackberry.

  4. Mark Folse Says:

    I don’t expect wi-fi to be free, but having a backup internet system (besides my dial-up backup, which could go down with Cox) would be fantastic. Hell, I”d pay by the day for faster service. I might even dump cox if it were competitive and more reliable.

    It’s not about free (which wouldn’t support much more than Bart’s crackberry). Its about having access choices, which is why Bell South and Cox are not trying to raise their rates 125% as Entergy is. It forces them to remain competitive.

  5. David Says:

    The city’s wi-fi was originally supposed to spread out of the CBD this spring. Then, when Earthlink took over, the citywide service was supposed to start on September 1st. FYI–that’s two weeks ago. I’m increasingly starting to think this citywide wi-fi is another example of Nagin’s hot air, and I’m increasingly starting to regard Nagin as the black George W. Bush.

    (Thank God, I can pick up my neighbor’s signal by positioning my laptop just so. Otherwise, you’d miss out on all of this.)

  6. Dave C. Says:

    Editor B – Thanks for the hospitality. It was great to meet you and Michael.

    Brooks — The network designs we’ve developed do have upgrade paths built in to them. In many cases that can be done through software upgrades. We’ve started building this month and hope to have the initial 20 square miles completed by the end of December.

    David — September 1 was incorrectly reported as a milestone in the papers and in the confusion I picked it up back then on the blog as well. I published a correction and update recently.

  7. Maitri’s VatulBlog » Day 384: Woe Be To Cox Says:

    [...] of those services that will attract people to return; Dave took it into consideration. Of course, Bart and Michael Homan have a lot more to say about wireless in MidCity, where the need is indeed [...]

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