With what can only be termed as an incredible outpouring of generosity, WISPs (Wireless Internet Service Providers) from as far away as Canada are pouring into areas that Katrina blew through last week. Using their own funds communications are being restored, people are being fed and clothed while hope is being returned to people who had very little just a short time ago. In a world where any improvement is desperately appreciated, being able to communicate with friends and family has got to top the list.
(PRWEB) September 10, 2005 -- With what can only be termed as an incredible
outpouring of generosity, WISPs (Wireless Internet Service Providers) from as
far away as Canada are pouring into areas that Katrina blew through last week.
Using their own funds communications are being restored, people are being fed
and clothed while hope is being returned to people who had very little just a
short time ago. In a world where any improvement is desperately appreciated,
being able to communicate with friends and family has got to top the
Teams of WISPs (Wireless Internet Service Providers) have volunteered their time, skills and knowledge base to rush to Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas to rapidly build a network of computer terminals in remote Red Cross Shelters. With most communications devastated by Hurricane Katrina and little hope that services would be restored quickly, WISPA and Part-15 recognized how nimble their members could be at solving this problem. Building a network with wireless technology, beaming microwave streams of data to these remote locations, can be deployed quickly and inexpensively in most situations.
WISPA founding member, Mac Dearman, Maximum Access, LLC of Rayville, Louisiana, 250 miles north of New Orleans led the charge as soon as Wednesday, days after the Hurricane hit. Putting his own business and family responsibilities on hold, Mac began visiting these relief shelters that were close to his home. He saw evacuees that were distraught from the realization that they had lost their home, community, job and most importantly loved ones. These people had no way to communicate to relief agencies or family. All communication systems were down or spotty at best.
Mac immediately begin deploying microwave connections to these shelters, donating the equipment, computers and even Voice over IP phones. Suddenly, these evacuees could post their names in the databases of lost people, could call their families and communicate with the world that was revolving around them.
Another Louisiana WISPA founding member, Johnny Onellion of APGWireless, 50 miles west of New Orleans was doing the same thing. Although spared from most of the damage in his primary market, Johnny also had a network in the Mobile, Alabama area. It has been almost impossible to get to that segment of his network but when he arrived, he immediately began working with another WISP based out of Biloxi. Joe Miller's network was completely destroyed. With very little resources from which to use, they began concentrating their efforts on servicing the shelters in the area, much like Mac was doing north of them. The work is continuing today with WISPs from around the country rushing to their aid. WISPs from as far as Canada are on their way now.
WISPA member, Joe Laura, Superior Wireless is another WISP who was based in New Orleans. He can't get to his network yet or his home, but he has many friends in the industry who are willing to help as soon as he is released to return.
WISPA has also formed an informal partnership with Part-15.org, CuWIN and the MediaAccess Project to help facilitate a steady stream of volunteers, equipment and funding to this area. The need is great for additional donations of computers, printers, phones, flashlights, tents, networking equipment, networking supplies, and money. The greatest challenge so far is the slow movement of government funding streams.
WISPA and Part-15.org ask that you call your senator/congressmen offices and ask for immediate financial support for this effort. These volunteers are opening the world up to the devastation in ways that most thought impossible or too expensive. They need assistance now! The Part-15.org group, headed by Michael Anderson has been tasked by the FCC/FEMA to work on connecting these shelters to the world. The primary task was to deploy teams to Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. Those teams have arrived and are beginning to establish communications for thousands of refugees that have been relocated there. Part-15 is the official organization that has been tasked with this responsibility even though WISPA threw its support behind the Part-15 effort early. Ask your senators to begin funneling money to the Part-15 effort as soon as possible.
For more information,please visit www.wispa.org or contact Matt Larsen (who is now on-site in Rayville, Louisiana) directly at 866-225-3715 or 866-221-6237.
Donations can be made through Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
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Source : http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/9/prweb282725.htm