As John blogged earlier, the DULL (Delusional United Luddites of Lafayette) have filed a random petition with the Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court. In the press reports, they repeat the lie that they are not opposed to the LUS fiber to the premises plan apparently, with straight faces. I'm not going to dignify the stories by providing links to them.
Well, on the back cover page of the January 10, 2005, edition of New Orleans CityBusiness I found what they are petitioning for: the right to be ripped-off!
A bit of a review is required by way of explanation.
LUS is proposing to bring to every home and small business in Lafayette a very fat connection to the Internet. The smallest connection ever mentioned was 24 megabits per second. 100 megabits per second is just as easily done as 24 megabits. And, a gigabit of intra-city connectivity is not out of the question, nor off the table.
LUS promises to do this at a significant discount to whatever services are offered by the incumbent carriers Cox and BellSouth. LUS also promises to continue regularly adjusting prices downward on a path to deliver "more bandwidth for less" to consumers and businesses here throughout the life of the project.
Now, despite their protestations, the DULL crowd is against this. Maybe not against this trend, but they are dead set against LUS delivering these benefits to Lafayette consumers and businesses. The fact that neither Cox nor BellSouth have indicated they would deliver similar infrastructure with a similar intent (and, in fact, have flatly declared that they would not) matters not to the DULL.
So, clearly, DULL is about ideology, not facts.
No, rather than allow the benefits of massively cheaper bandwidth make their way to Lafayette consumers and businesses, the DULL would have us gasping through the bandwidth reeds that the respective boards of Cox and BellSouth determine we should have.
Which brings us to the back page of New Orleans City Business.
It is a full-page ad for Cox Business Services. The headline reads: "No One's Ever Complained That Their Internet Service Was Too Fast." That is followed by a photo of a mouse leaving skid marks on a mouse pad; followed by the subhead: "Think Faster. Think Smarter. Think Bigger."
Cox then proceeds to make a pitch for Cox Business Internet: "1.5 Mbps/384Kbps service for only $89 per month and get free installation.*" The asterisk refers readers to six-plus lines of fine print at the bottom of the ad which inform them that this is a special rate that won't last past February 28, and that free installation only comes at the cost of a three-year contract, otherwise it could run as high as $249. There is also: "Rates and bandwidth options vary and are subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Other restrictions apply."
You know the drill.
Cox Business Services in "Greater Louisiana" offers the same package as they do in New Orleans. I'm not sure if the rates are the same and they don't provide any information on rates on that page or on the PDF which you download from that page.
So, in the name of ideological purity, the DULL would impose a bandwidth tax on every business in Lafayette because THEY would prefer that businesses in Lafayette wait until Cox and/or BellSouth decides that they will spend the money to bring fiber to every home and business in the city — if ever.
That is, the DULL would deny small businesses in Lafayette access to the kind of bandwidth that Cox doesn't even offer it's largest business customers. The DULL would do this because they oppose the concept of LUS providing services for philosophical reasons. The DULL may walk the streets as business people, but their brains live in ivory towers far removed from the real world.
What is particularly insulting about their opposition to the LUS plan is that the proceeds from the DULL Bandwidth Tax would not go to the benefit of the community but would instead go directly into the coffers of Cox and BellSouth! That is, the higher bandwidth costs which businesses would continue to pay if LUS is prevented from building their network and delivering their services would be money taken from those businesses and shipped off to Atlanta.
That this is the preferred course of events for the DULL is proof positive that they do not have the interests of this community at heart and that they do not have the interests of their fellow business people at heart. All they are about is garnering attention, defending the corporate interests of BellSouth and Cox, and demonstrating just how pristine are the ivory towers in which their thought processes are locked.