Hours after New Orleans officials announced Tuesday that they would deploy a city-owned, wireless Internet network in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, regional phone giant BellSouth Corp. withdrew an offer to donate one of its damaged buildings that would have housed new police headquarters, city officials said yesterday.
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angrily rescinded the offer of the building in a conversation with New Orleans homeland security director Terry Ebbert, who oversees the roughly 1,650-member police force.
The city announced the WiFi plan "to help stimulate resettlement and relocation
to the devastated city," says the article, and some of the biggest users are "law enforcement and other city agencies to help speed recovery." But I guess none of that is as important as BellSouth's profits.
Interestingly, the story ends with a cautionary note about the future of the WiFi project:
Eventually, the city intends to outsource operation of the network's business and consumer services to a private firm, officials said.
TMobile, here we come.
(Hat tip to reader DZ)