Friday, March 11, 2005

Fiber a hit—in Ascension

The Advocate covers EATEL's new fiber optic network build in Ascension parish. The heart of the story is in the first paragraph:
"The response to Eatel's new fiber optic television service exceeded the company's first week expectations, said Jason Domangue, the company's marketing manager."
LPF has been relaying news about EATEL's ambitions for itself and its local community for a while. Dramatic moments included a rare moment when the local government defied the cable company, Cox, when it tried to use its monopoly to force the local council to run the public TV channel the way Cox wanted it run. The Council defied them and won—something that would have been politically impossible to risk had not EATEL been waiting in the wings with locally-based competition.

EATEL's vision, and its clear success in the initial build (it appears to be building the new infrastructure in waves, a conservative tactic that LUS is also planning to follow), demonstrates you don't have to be a large company working in a dense urban area to be successful with fiber optics—you only have to have the vision and courage to build for the long term health of your company and its community rather than your own short-term stock price.

Other telephone companies in small towns and rural areas who actually care about their own communities are quietly and without controversy making the smart move to fiber. Even in such rural areas, the long-term economic value is not contestable. Ask Kaplan Telephone. Or Cameron Telephone. You know, in Cameron Parish (big cities: Cameron, Hackberry), you can get Fiber-To-The-Camp on a lonely little two-lane road running beside the gulf. Fiber is the obvious choice of people who are in the telecom business for their customers and for the long term. We should all stand up and cheer for the foresight of some local businesses.

It's too bad we don't have a local telephone company like EATEL in Lafayette. BellSouth is playing an entirely different game with entirely different values. It might be good for their stock value and consequently for the income of its executives, but it's not good for the communities it pretends to serve.

Let's go local.


Joe said...

My best bud from grade school heads R&D for EATEL and this is his baby. I am proud of my homie. Another Eunice boy made good!

John said...

Congrats to all those associated with the EATEL project. There's been hints that EATEL has ambitions to expand its network beyond Ascension. That'd be very interesting, as they say.