Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"BellSouth offers city deal; Durel doubts it's enough"

Kevin Blanchard of the Advocate does his usual incisive job of reporting in this story. He lays it out, as my mother might have said, "in apple pie order."

BellSouth proposed last month that if Lafayette paid or gave tax incentives to BellSouth, the company would "accelerate" its communications network build-out plans...

Durel said Tuesday the plan proposed to Lafayette does not meet the minimum requirements he's looking for in a potential partnership.

"Does it accomplish anything that we want to accomplish -- not at all," Durel said...

"This was the same thing they came to us with in November," Durel said. "Unfortunately, this seems to be the best they have to offer."

It will only try an

Durel did not agree the BellSouth proposal achieves the results desired.

Durel said he also does not like the approach of BellSouth slowly making its advanced services available over a four-year period and only then "close to 100 percent," of households.

(If we pay BellSouth off.)

The LUS plan is to make its service available to anyone who wants it, he said.

Lafayette wants a fiber-optic system built to every home and business in the city, reduced prices for telecommunications services and availability to everyone who wants to sign up -- something that would attract new business and make Lafayette stand out around the country, Durel said.

"Anything short of that is not worth talking about," Durel said.

Indeed, we've waged the fight and the prize is at hand. No compromise is the path of wisdom now.

Oliver's letter also proposes for BellSouth to provide wireless coverage across Lafayette -- either through three to six "Wi-Max" stations or hundreds of smaller wireless transceivers on street lights around the city...

Durel has said before that Lafayette is working on a way to use its fiber-optic network to also provide wireless.

And Oliver remarks:

BellSouth's proposal would "enable the citizens of Lafayette to reap virtually all the benefits of the proposed LUS plan without having to incur the major investments and substantial risks inherent in that plan"...

No, it would not allow all of Lafayette's citizens to benefit unless we paid off BellSouth (A fact which incidently should silence those that pretend that BellSouth intends to service all of Lafayette and that LUS doesn't.) It doesn't assure us of robust competition, instead it subsidizes one of the competitors. (Hey, where's Cox?)

No, most crucially BellSouth's plan doesn't put control of Lafayette's future in the hands of Lafyette's people. This BS plan puts control more solidly in the hands of the Atlanta corporation whose actions in Lafayette have exhibited a fine disdain for the people of Lafayette. (Recall the Academic Conference, and both the push polls?)

Lafayette needs to control her own destiny. Investing in ourselves has always rebounded to our advantage. And this flimsy proposal offers nothing that should lead us to believe that others are willing to do that investing on our behalf.

We'll have to do it ourselves.

The final line in the Advocate article serves well here:

Durel said there are no dates set for BellSouth and Lafayette officials to meet.
The date to keep is July 16th. Vote For Fiber. Vote Yes!


Anonymous said...

I am surmising that you are concerned about the city making a deal with Bell, that would result in LUS not deploying its fiber, which would undercut Lafayettes ability to own the infrastructure. I have heard you use the pharse "natural monopoly". To acheive your objective of Laf. owning the fiber infrastructure, wouldn't it make more sense to get LUS and LCG, to dedicate the $ 125 mill to fiber? That would put Joey in a stronger negoiationg position and remove any incentive for this or future administrations from being lured away from building fiber infrastructure.
It's a little scary when they get together, isn't it.


Anonymous said...

Praise to Mayor Durel As a person born in Louisiana and long since moved west, it hurts my heart to hear my relatives there still not able to get decent dialup while I have for the past year even had VoIP(Voice over Internet Protocol) on my cable network and enjoying toll free calling to all of the US and Canada. This is one of the reasons that the SBCs and BellSouth's will be fighting you. For his Fight to help empower People, my organization, Friends of Mother Earth, will honor Mayor Durel with an "Honorary Friend of Mother Earth" friendship award.
No community can do more for it's citizens education base than provide good Internet access. Go Mayor Durel