Wednesday, April 20, 2005

"Council backs vote on fiber"—Advertiser

The Advertiser reports on the City-Parish Councils vote for a vote on fiber last night:

More than 73,800 registered voters in the City of Lafayette will have the opportunity July 16 to decide if the city's utility system should spend up to $125 million on a controversial fiber optics project.

The City-Parish Council on Tuesday voted to call the July 16 public referendum. All present voted in favor of the election. Councilman Rob Stevenson was absent.

The special election is expected to cost the city about $100,000. Only registered voters in the city of Lafayette can participate. A simple majority vote decides the fate of the proposed Lafayette Utilities System fiber-to-the-home project.

The Advertiser also brings to the fore digital divide issues that started to emerge yesterday. Look for more; I know that good things are coming. There is a real possibility that Lafayette will go forward with a digital divide plan that will garner as much national and international press as the fiber plan itself.
LUS Director Terry Huval is expected to report to the council May 17 with plans for using the fiber project to shrink the digital divide between residents who have access to Internet service and those who cannot afford the service. When the fiber project originally was proposed a year ago, bridging the digital divide was supposed to be a primary selling point and benefit. On Monday, LUS connected to its existing fiber service the Simcoe Street housing development's tutorial center in an effort to bridge the digital divide.

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