The free wi-fi network that covered downtown New Orleans proved to be a lifeline for businesses and residents. Noticing their success of EarthLink acquiring the network and the importance of communication after a major event, the Jefferson Parish Council approved a measure to launch a wi-fi network for all residents and emergency officials from the lakefront to Grand Isle. That was created 2007. Three years later, there’s no indication that network exists.
In an interview with ControlAltTV, Jefferson Parish Chief Administrator Officer Timothy A. Whitner did reveal that the council did receive two bids on the project by GVC Winstar of Detroit, Mich and GM Solutions of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. Unfortunately, the cost to implement a wi-fi network were too high and the project “was shelved pending the possibility of improvement in market dynamics”, Whitner said in an email interview.
The project was cancelled in 2007. The next year, EarthLink shuttered the New Orleans municipal wi-fi network.
Whitner also hinted that the council could revisit the project as WiMax has emerged as a new wireless technology. “WiMax was an emerging technology at the time of our evaluation (in 2008). It was getting good press with the announced launch of Sprint’s Xohm in Chicago and Baltimore in 2008. The WiMax frenzy has cooled somewhat with potential competition from 802.3n, but it likely will re-emerge as a hot technology again” stated Whitner.