Friday, November 09, 2007

Wifi access for Shreveport? The biggest bang per buck might be gained by serving Highland neighborhood rather than downtown

Calvin Lester and Bryan Wooley were recently assigned to serve on a task force exploring downtown wifi, said the Times. Wifi is a term that means wireless connection, usually to the internet.

The Times: "The purpose of the committee is to find out what the city can do and look at what other cities are doing, said Lester, who proposed creating the task force earlier this year."

Downtown wifi has become a symbol of cities' friendliness to high-tech endeavor. Example: Austin.

Downtown wifi is a glamor item, a bragging right.

In the minds of proponents, people would take their laptops to Riverview Park to read their email and blog. City of the future and all that. Have you tried reading your laptop screen outdoors in Shreveport? Rotsa ruck.

The downtown idea is sexy but empty. Let's say you're a starving artist. You can get a computer and internet connection in the Shreve Memorial Library. For a nominal fee you can get both high-speed internet and instruction in how to use it at Tipitina's Office Co-op. Build a myspace page with art and music on it and reach out to the world from Tips on Texas. If you're lucky enough to own a laptop, you can snap a bit of wifi in Artspace.

There are probably a lot of additional places downtown where you can get an unprotected signal. And I believe that business types all across downtown do their work through existing office wifi systems.

But I know of no such advantages in Highland. Yet it's in Highland where we can identify a significant concentration of the region's artists. In Highland we see an ethnic diversity and co-existence that might be called laudable. Fledgling businesses of Highland such the Lotus Center (illustration) and Lila's bakery would be given a pick-me-up.

Highland has historic architecture and a tradition of vitality that is preservable, in my humble opinion. WiFi would be the salt atop the gumbo of old and deserving Shreveport.

Wish there were a way to quantify the benefits of installing wifi in downtown vs giving it to my sweetheart, Highland.

3 comments:

Kathryn Usher said...

Freaky, dude! My thoughts were along the same lines when I commented on Alan English's blog at timeseditordesk.blogspot.com

trudeau said...

Me, I promise that I had not read your Times Editor's Desk comment when I wrote this.

Your remarks are more graceful and more buttressed than mine.

The hale thing is that we agree. Of course, our agreement is not really freaky. I feel like there will be a lot of people ready to agree with us.

Anonymous said...

I do not live in Highland but I do work downtown. I have high speed internet access downtown in my office. That would be the basic norm for almost everyone in the downtown area. The residential base for downtown is still exceptionally small.

The Shreve Memorial library comment is well taken. Another question has to be asked ,when could one get access to a public computer on the third floor at the downtown library? It is usually packed. The library needs more computer terminals as many of the users do not have the funds for a personal computer.

The wifi concept in Highland seems much more logical.It is the residential area for many artists but also for many college age students and just starting out younger folks. It would also be a selling point for the neighborhood for potential residents.

Highland is diverse and compact. I vote for Wifi in Highland. Can we get some signs printed by the artists and some bumper stickers?

This is one time when the neighborhood needs to define the agenda for the City Council, not the other wya around. Maybe the artists could start with outdoor poster/ art in their yards to show support for the concept.

Become activists or watch wifi go to some other neighboorhood.