Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Save the Baby Monopolists! Please!!!

The Times of Acadiana continues to waste perfectly good trees by affording space in their paper to the ramblings of Eric Benjamin.

In his latest commentary, Benjamin claims that the draft feasibility study for the LUS fiber plan downplays the risks inherent in the venture. Among the risks that Benjamin says LUS should consider is "the possible destruction of two large companies that employ thousands."

Uh, the $100-million-plus LUS plan risks destroying the publicly traded, multi-billion BellSouth and the soon-to-be privately-held Cox Communications — which has an estimated stock capitalization value in the range of $21 billion, based on the cost of taking the company private?

E.B. call home!!!

Granted, there are risks in the LUS plan as outlined in the draft feasibility study. However, there are risks in undertaking anything worthwhile.

But, the idea that the LUS project might put either BellSouth or Cox out of business is farcical. This is not to say that Cox does not post a mortal threat to BellSouth's business in south Louisiana — I think it does. But the LUS project and this market are so insignificant to both BellSouth and to Cox, that neither company is willing to invest the small fraction of their annual revenues that it would take for either of them to deploy a fiber to the premises plant here.

Cox's parent company is spending $7.9 billion to buy the 38 percent of the stock it does not now own in order to take it private. BellSouth is coming up with an even larger amount to cover its share of the cost for Cingular to buyout AT&T Wireless. Still, with all those billions whizzing around, neither company can find the relative pocket change (to them!) that it would take for either one of them to deploy a project similar to the one being considered by LUS.

Benjamin would be easier to take if he simply announced that his chosen field was science fiction, rather than maintain the pretense that this stuff constitutes commentary. He might get paid better, too.


Anonymous said...

He would be a lot easier to take if he actually lived in Lafayette. The guy is commuting from New Orleans to Lafayette on a weekly basis.

This is a classic example of someone who is in the pocket of their advertisers. Cingular/BellSouth/Cox combined make up the biggest advertisers of The Times of Acadiana.

Glad you are still looking at the rag... I stopped months ago. They might as well stop publishing it. The new format and content sucks.

Mike Stagg said...

Actually, other than Benjamin, I think The Times is a better read than The Independent. At least there's news in it! The Independent reminds me of Gertrude Stein's comment about Oakland (CA): "There's no there there." I say that with a good bit of regret, because they have a lot of potential — and a wide open field to cover — but what this town needs is a good newspaper, not more lifestyle coverage.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the council vote kicks the Lafayette monopolies/FUD spreaders right in the mouth.