Wednesday, January 05, 2005

So Whaddaya Want? Fiber? (1)

One of the most interesting things about this whole fiber to the home fight has been the strange contradictions that opponents get themselves wound up in.

The first, and most obvious, is the strange idea that it makes sense to be both an advocate of Lafayette getting fiber to the home (FTTH) technology and an opponent of LUS.

Here is one of the most fundamental truths of the debate:
Only LUS will build a FTTH network in the foreseeable future.
BellSouth and Cox have been nothing if not consistent on this score. They say they aren't going to do it. And then grandly announce we don't need fiber: ignorant rubes that we are we ought to want something they call "services"—by which they mean something that they can separate from the bitstream and charge us through the nose for. (The paternalism that assumes we are foolish enough to accept this transparent substitution is offensive. I know what I want and I don't need some Atlanta-bound executive from Tyler, Texas telling me that what I need to do is to pledge allegiance to his outdated profit centers.)

There is only one rational position to take if you believe
  1. that fiber to the home is the inevitable path of the future (Note that all the incumbents think so and have been investing in a fiber future for the last decade--no serious analyst in the business doubts this. The bandwidth demands of the future cannot be handled by anything less--certainly not by fantasies of wireless clouds covering municipalities which, in truth, can only be provisioned by fiber.)
  2. that fiber to the home, as the signature technology of the still-emerging information technology, is the key to future economic development, keeping our kids in Acadiana, and preserving our unique way of life. Getting fiber on Cox and BellSouth's schedule just means that Lafayette would fall further behind the large urban centers, our children will continue to migrate to more dynamic centers, and that the national media will continue to wash out what we most value about living in the south and Acadiana. Getting a powerful FTTH system in place first is our best chance for pursuing these goals. Waiting on the private companies to see enough profit in us just means that we will be way back in the pack....again.
No, if you want fiber, and if you want what fiber can bring you really don't have any rational choice but LUS.

Resolve those contradictions!

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