The Advertiser has queued up a story, Cox rolls out telephone service, for tomorrow that is focused on Cox and BellSouth offering new services. The isn't exactly news since Cox has been saying it was going to roll out VOIP in Lafayette in November for quite some time—as we have reported here repeatedly—see the CNET report. The story also let us know that BellSouth has "recently" begun offering DirecTV service. Really? Recently?
It would be interesting to have a little overview piece on all the changes coming to the telecom market in Lafayette. But something like this really doesn't do the job and its desultory focus on triple play items, without actually mentioning LUS, just seems strange. There is a good story in all the changes, however. Cox is about to tie up its capital in merging with itself; BellSouth is getting monopoly control of its landlines back: and Cingular just became the nations largest cell phone company. How do all the changes effect Lafayette? Now that would be a story worth telling.
I do hope this version makes it to an editor before it hits the paper.
Update: 8:00 am 10/28/04
The version of this story that makes the paper: Cox hopes customers take its calls is quite an improvement over the one (still available at this writing) that we saw last night. It shapes the basics into an actual story by seeking reaction from all the potential purveyors of "triple play" options. It still errs in leaving the impression that this is a new announcement and in leaving unremarked the Cox claim to have spent 150 million to "prepare our network here for this service." Had Cox actually done so it would certainly prove the wisdom of LUS which is building a whole new fiber optic system for 110 million. I guess private enterprise is just plain inefficient and we can't expect anything better.... Seriously, a simple question like asking the length of time over which this amount was spent and the the geographical boundaries it refers to would have gone a long way toward helping the reader make sense of a nonsensical factoid thrown out by Cox's Cassard.
But then the educational functions of a newspaper, the idea that a newspaper is to actually inform and help readers understand the world it reports on seem far from what we actually see in the Advertiser. This little bit of uncritical repetition is small in itself but is all too indicative of what we regularly see in reporting on the fiber issue from the Advertiser. It is really unfortunate to again recognize that we have to look to the Baton Rouge paper or the Wednesday publication of a still-new weekly to get decent reporting on this critical issue.