BellSouth Points Out The Unfair Legislation For Which They Lobbied

from the might-not-want-to-highlight-that dept

Back in November 2005, we wrote about how Tropos was powering a WiFi mesh network in the devastated city of New Orleans, and commented that despite reservations about the applicability of WiFi to Wide Area deployments, the nature of the emergency was such that a mesh network was the best choice possible to get the city re-connected ASAP. Today, an estimated 15,000 users connect to the muni network in a city where a third of the inhabitants still can’t access a working phone line. We also commented on how the mesh network was providing service up to 512Kbps, which went against a state law limiting municipal services to 128Kbps or less. Well, the time has come for BellSouth to declare the ‘hurricane honeymoon’ over, and at a time when their public relations are not particularly great, are pulling the telecom equivalent of telling jokes about the deceased at a funeral, or jokes about the bride’s fidelity at a wedding: The telco lobbyists are seeking enforcement of the legislation they probably wrote in the first place, and seeking to shut down the muni WiFi in the Big Easy. The New Orleans mayor and CIO say they will not comply with an order to shut off the network – preferring jail to disconnecting their citizens. Noble, perhaps, yet where were they when these questionable laws were getting put on the books?

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Comments on “BellSouth Points Out The Unfair Legislation For Which They Lobbied”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Not as Big or as Easy

The politicians in the most corrupt city in this country now have the clout (and more importantly the spotlight) allowing (or preventing) them to go through with their buyout. Sure they are corrupt politicians. Now too many people are watching to let this public facet be tarnished. I would still keep my eyes on all that money rollin in. Since when do mayors drive Maybachs?

John (user link) says:

Corporate Influence...absolutely!

BellSouth did write the bill or at least corporate interests did. The bill had a clear history going back to a corporate-sponsored group which exists to write state level legislation. The “legislators” get a virtually free ride to nifty locales while the corprorate person they are paired with bids (yes, bids) for his seat. Telecom seats used to go for the most….back when they didn’t hide their funding process.

Further info about Noble Ellington–the legislative “author”–and ALEC–the corporate-controlled organization that wrote the law:

John (user link) says:

Re: Re: Corporate Influence...absolutely!


You are disturbed by the fact that a legislator submitted a law that was written by corporate interests. Me too. But I think this is common in state legislatures–so common as to be unremarkable. It is not a peculiarity of Lousiana by any means.

The guy, “Noble” Ellington, represents one of the most rural and depressed areas of the “delta” (which is actually in North Louisiana). His constituents care about a whole different class of issues and only care that he delivers in that range. Campaign contributions speak loudly. Again, I don’t think its rare: I think it common. (He currently has a bill prefiled that will install in Louisiana a state franchising bill that would institute all the worst parts of that idea–including an explicit prohibition of any requirement that a phone company serve the whole community and not just the richest part.

He’s a kept man. But I guess no one will bother to run against him.

[Rx2] Ano? (user link) says:


“state law limiting municipal services to 128Kbps or less”

why is there a law limiting services to 128kbps or less….. whos the idot who made that law? what good does it do? NONE. i cant believe it.. and the mayor and CIO saying they wont shut off Wifi to the citizens, and they would rather face jail? who do they think they are???!?? what kind of Mayor is that? who doesnt abide by the Law.. who knows what other laws he Dismisses… and rather go to jail for…

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