Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Eye on the Prize, Digitial Divide Presentation at the Council Meeting

The current flurry of angst around a petition will, I hope, be passing. Really there is nothing substantial to be said in favor of trying to stop the LUS proposal. Opposition is almost purely ideological, grounded in the raw belief that citizens should be afraid of the government they elect and gaining traction only if they can convince the public to fear various far-fetched "what if" scenarios.

My best advice is to be wary of anyone whose strategy is to call up fear.

I suggest instead that we keep our eye on the prize. The LUS proposal will propel Lafayette to the forefront of technologically connected communities; create jobs that can allow the rising generation to stay in Lafayette; and make those advantages available to every citizen--not just those that private companies might think 'worthy.'

My wife, Layne, and I, throughout this battle, have been motivated in no small measure by this last hope—that LUS can make available to all what had been available to the few. Advanced telecom will be the economic engine of the next generation, and if we do it ourselves Lafayette will be uniquely positioned to make sure that this new technology will help us all advance together and help heal that which divides us, rather than exacerbate old wounds.

In that spirit my wife and I are going to make a brief presentation at this evening's council meeting on the digital divide. We'll argue that it is important that the vision that the fiber-optic network be available and serve us all should be built deep into the business plan. We hope to urge the council and LUS to open this idea to widespread discussion at the neighborhood level and build in continuing support for education efforts. There is no reason that this city can't become a model for building advanced telecom into the daily lives of all our citizens. Should we succeed at that task it will be much bigger news, and a much bigger prize than the simple fiber-0ptic network the dream will depend upon.

Eye on the prize, folks. Don't let your attention drift.

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