Post Katrina: Mississippi Gets Wireless Broadband

BellSouth has begun deploying high-speed wireless broadband speeds as fast
as 1.5 Gb/s in Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss., modifying the company's original
wireless broadband rollout plans in order to get service to residents of the
hurricane-ravaged area, where the infrastructure damage is so huge it hasn't
been fixed yet.

The incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC), whose original rollout plans
envisioned only offering wide-area wireless broadband in rural areas, is
also offering residents of the Mississippi towns a bit of a discount out of
sympathy for their plight - and, of course, the good publicity it might get
out of the move.

"Small businesses and homeowners are still rebuilding, and they are looking
to BellSouth to provide the critical communications they need to get their
lives in order," says John McCullouch, president of BellSouth's Mississippi
operations. "Our wireless broadband service will provide customers with a
viable and economical solution for high-speed Internet access."

A BellSouth spokeswoman added that, after blanketing the hurricane-hit
cities, the carrier will "now return to our original strategy of (offering
wireless broadband in) areas from suburbia on out," where such services as
DSL can't be delivered economically.

About a month ago, BellSouth began offering a high-speed wireless service in
downtown New Orleans, but that was priced as a small-business service only.
"It was absolutely critical to getting the city up and running," the
BellSouth spokeswoman explained, regarding the decision not to offer a
residential plan.

One thing BellSouth is not offering the Mississippi residents, however, is
voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) on its shiny, new, wireless broadband.
The company had no explanation of why, other than the simple fact that it's
not going to offer it for now. For more on BellSouth's wireless rollout
progress in the Gulf area, read the current issue of Broadband Business
Forecast. For a trial subscription, go to

Thank you.


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