Friday, August 06, 2004

Nobody wants FTTH?

Nobody wants fiber? Hey, download the Fios brochure (pdf) that FTTH subscribers are getting in Dallas as Verizion rolls out real broadband in Dallas this August. CNet describes the initiative. Somebody in Dallas must be more credible than the citizens of Lafayette. They want it and they are getting it.

One of the more irritating things that BellSouth and Cox are doing is telling the folks of Lafayette, poor ignorant children that we are, that we really don't want fiber. We want some sorta "services" that they already offer and children they will take care of our real needs, needs which they understand. Trust 'em. That was mostly implicit until the "Academic" Broadband (not fiber, didn't wanna talk about that) Forum when Menefee, local tech guru, staightforwardly asked if BellSouth and Cox would committ to building a fiber to the home network if the people of Lafayette voted "51%" to do so. There was a lot of hemming and hawing but the facts were clear: that's not the way they make decisions. (It is the way local governments make decisions.) It's about their judgement as to how much profit can be made here versus other, "better," ways to spend their money. (Which, I hasten to point out, includes profits made off Lafayette business.) (See Mike's coverage of that Dog and Pony show)

Anyway, BellSouth and Cox might not find Lafayette's fiber business worth spending the money to secure but that's not because fiber just isn't economic or, as they imply, that wise business heads aren't doing it. Real players in the game, like Verizon, are embracing FTTH. Now you might think that Dallas is a big city. And it is. (And I for one don't want to live in Dallas or Houston.) But it isn't only the big guys: Louisiana's own EATel (East Ascension TELephone) is rolling out FTTH in Ascension and Livingston as we speak. Its not about size. It's about vision.

It's not about scary new "maybe" technologies (that are mostly directly dependent on fiber). It's not about "uneconomic business plans" —unless you think that Verizon and EATel are fools. Really folks, it's about money. And Cox and BellSouth think they can make more money with the profits they take here by spending it elsewhere. That's sensible, good business practice. It can even be reasonably argued that the law requires they be "good stewards" and maximize their shareholders' profits.

But that doesn't make LUS wrong in its judgment that a healthy dose of Fiber is good for Lafayette.

And to imply otherwise is just condescending.

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