Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Lafayette already a leader

The morning's papers bring stories that, while mostly peripheral to the Lafayette's fight for fiber, remind me that we certainly shouldn't be surprised that Lafayette has taken up the challenge of fiber to the home. I think, as I talk to some folks—even those who are vaguely in favor of the plan—that I hear an echo of the old: "If this is so good then why are we about to get it? Why doesn't Baton Rouge (Austin..whatever the image of a place that is 'ahead' of little ole Lafayette) do it?"

That contrasts with recent conversations with people around the state (some actually living in, say, Baton Rouge) that open up with questions about the fiber issue in Lafayette and close with wistful comments about how much they wish their place was so progressive about these issues. I was told recently about a statewide conference call to work on putting in place a "green" home organization, that got off into a 15-minute conversation about the issue and how progressive a place Lafayette is, especially in regard to technology.

I confess to having a touch of this disease myself to the extent that I am surprised that outsiders admire Lafayette for its technology and its willingness to push the community forward.

Which brings me back to this morning's papers. Looking at articles in the Advertiser and the Advocate on the newly named "LITE" project, and then running across an Advertiser article on consolidating medical databases (the importance of which the article considerably underplays) in our part of Acadiana, reminded me that I should not be surprised at the respect accorded Lafayette by those who keep up with such matters. Both of these projects put Lafayette well ahead of the curve, not only in Louisiana but nationally.

A successful fiber project would put an enormous exclamation point on it but the citizens of Lafayette should be aware that Lafayette is already ahead of the curve. In a real sense we are better prepared to take the leap than most communities. We really shouldn't be surprised that we're out in front on this too.

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