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New wireless network in Minneapolis helps with disaster response

| 08.06.2007 | 07:29:348571 |
August 6 '07: First responders in Minneapolis said that the city's new wireless network - just two months old - has been invaluable in sending and receiving information to help with response and recovery efforts after the I-35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River. PC World reported that the new network has "helped the city with communications, moving large mapping files to the recovery site, and is supporting wireless cameras that are being installed to help with recovery operations."
Minneapolis City CIO Lynn Willenbring told PC World, "Thank good we had it in and that this piece of network was already up and operational. ... We could not have been as effective if it were not for that."

The wireless network was built with the cooperation of US Internet - who immediately opened the network after the disaster struck "so anyone could use it for free; the number of concurrent users quickly grew to 6,000" PC World reported.

By opening up the network, the city and the Internet company allowed emergency responders and citizens to send vital and timely information. Willenburg told PC World, "We have been able to get information to the command center readily and we are taking large files, GIS-based mapping, ... that are just critical."