Hurricane Ravaged New Orleans Getting Municipal WiFi

Hurricane-stricken New Orleans is largely destroyed and abandoned, but city officials said on Tuesday it will soon have universal wireless Internet service.

A free, municipally-run Wi-Fi system has begun operation in the French Quarter and central business district and should cover the entire city within a year, Mayor Ray Nagin said in a statement.

"We are among the first cities to feature a city-wide wireless network and that's especially important to the recovery of our community," he said.

Much of the equipment for the system has been donated by private companies, including Intel Corp, Tropos Networks and Pronto Networks, the city said.

Only about 10 percent of New Orleans' pre-storm population of half a million people has returned since Hurricane Katrina struck on August

29 and flooded 80 percent of the city.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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