Bellsouth is in the process of repairing and upgrading its communications infrastructure in New Orleans and is, according to it's estimates, approximately 85% complete.
However, the best news is that once complete, New Orleans communications will be brand new.
About 2 million feet of damaged copper cable and attached network facilities have been removed. Villar said technicians are upgrading the networks with fiber optic cable and accompanying digital electronics. The fiber optic cable, he said, has unlimited bandwidth and is less susceptible to water intrusion. BellSouth has also deployed 26 portable subscriber loop carriers, temporary network facilities that enable service to areas where permanent repairs are still needed.In addition to Bellsouth's repair work, the city has installed WiFi networks throughout much of the city and plans on expanding citywide in the future.
On a related issue, New Orleans City Business reports that VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocal) is growing in popularty. For those not familiar with VoIP, those TV commercials for Vonage is VoIP.
Darryl dâ€™Aquin, president of New Orleans-based technology services firm CommTech Industries, said VoIP has been popular for some businesses in the New Orleans area because post-Katrina they are looking for that option of allowing employees to work from remote locations.
â€œThey can take their telephone numbers with them and do business literally on the road via laptop computer or handheld device,â€� dâ€™Aquin said. â€œThere has been a larger interest in that because the technology has matured quite a bit and the most important part with disaster recovery is that Voice Over IP solutions can be designed to be mobile.â€�
Had our firm been utilizing VoIP prior to Hurricane Katrina, setting up our temporary offices and and communicating with a dispersed staff would have been much easier.
After evacuating on the Saturday after the storm, we had assumed it would have been the usual evacuation. Spend a few days with my parents near Baton Rouge, make a couple trips to the mall and head back home a few days later. Not!
When it became obvious that the evacuation would be for much longer, thoughts quickly turned to work. The only number I had for my bosses were the work numbers. Don't call and expect someone to pick -up. If the firm has utilized VoIP, a simple call to the office number (assuming someone evacuated the equipment) and communications within the office staff would have been quickly established. Instead, someone established a Yahoo Message Group and informed everyone via their personal email.
Again, back to the internet.