The Ars Technica crowd weighs in with a pretty amazing string on Lafayette's victory.
Ars Technica is one of the most brilliant places on the net. As both a community (which works hard not to take itself too seriously) and as a repository of hard to beat technical information it is invaluable. It's the place to go when you want to read a 20 page dissertation on the fine points of the latest Macintosh operating system. Or if you want to understand how (and why you should care whether) multi-threading interacts with mulitple cores...
So its fun to see what this crowd thinks about Lafayette's venture and the idea of municipal broadband in general. This isn't like most online discussions: the ratio of wheat to chaff is high.
I'd recommend reading the thread entire; — it is real a discussion and an education in how good this sort of online forum can be. Here are some appetizers and one piece of steak:
The People are doin' it for themselves.The meat-actual, intelligent analysis (I wanna meet this guy):
The only reason that the standardized Internet does exist is because it was not set up as a business. Had the internet been set up as a business there would have been a plethora of standards with no interoperability until a monopoly was formed to standardize things e.g. AT&T before the break-up.
To hell with this mish-mash of regional monopolies; if the government is willing to step forward and provide a service on which these clowns want to keep dragging their feet, so be it. If that gives the private companies the kick in the ass needed to come in and try to do it better, so much the better.
First, let me say that it does the heart good to see your hometown on the Ars front page.Hear, Hear, Well Said!
Second let me say that BellSouth and Cox Cable were absolute pigs during this entire affair. The proposal was for our public utility, which is truly public in that it is a unit of the city, to take out bonds to finance this. BS and Cox astroturfed a good part of the opposition, and even went so far as to get a bill introduced in our state legislature to stop this when it became clear that most of the folks rallying to their cause were the usual cranks and folks who believe that only the private sector can do anything.
(We did, in the mean time, see a whole lot of television ads featuring local employees smiling and telling us how much it meant to them to help out the rest of us, their neighbors. Uh huh.)
BS and Cox did, however, manage to cause enough of a ruckus that our mayor, a business-oriented Republican, and the city council decided it was simply the best case to have a special election -- and how I wish, having lost, it was now BS and Cox who had to pay for that election.
I should point out that there are a lot of factors that aren't going to appear in most stories that helped get this FTTP proposal off the ground:
One, the head of our utilities division has a spotless reputation as does the division itself -- their line repair happens faster than ANY private utility I've ever known. (He's also a great musician by the way, a member of the Cajun band Jambalaya.)
Two, the city has enjoyed a remarkable level of urban planning, something especially unusual in the south. And planning that occurred twenty years ago recently has paid off in terms of a revived downtown, which means a lot of folks have seen what having vision can mean.
Lafayette in general does pursue the so-called American median: fiscally conservative and socially liberal. This FTTP plan played to both sides of that spirit.