Wednesday, December 07, 2005

New Orleans and Lafayette: The Ind Gets It

That's a mighty canaille-looking smile on Terry Huval. Does he know something we don't?

That photo runs in The Independent, which has picked up on Lafayette's "Crescent City Connection." The subtitle makes the point succinctly: "When it comes to municipal broadband networks, Lafayette and New Orleans are on the same track."

Indeed. It does all sound very familiar.

From the text of the story:

Last week, Mayor Ray Nagin announced that the city of New Orleans would offer the nation's largest free municipal wireless network. He touted it as a bold step toward recovery for the paralyzed city.

BellSouth doesn't see it that way. In what’s becoming a common refrain, the telecom cited unfair competition from government and added that under normal conditions — without its state of emergency status — New Orleans would be violating state law.

It's a story Lafayette knows well. BellSouth has been a driving force of opposition -- along with Cox Communications — against Lafayette Utilities System’s proposed fiber-to-the-home network. The public utility company’s plan to build out fiber optics throughout the city and offer phone, cable and high-speed Internet is awaiting resolution of a lawsuit filed by BellSouth.

City-Parish President Joey Durel, who has made the LUS initiative a cornerstone of his administration, plans to work with New Orleans city officials to remove all barriers to municipalities competing with incumbent telecommunications companies.
Remove all barriers--that sounds awfully good.

The story goes on to quote BellSouth, New Orleans, Lafayette officials, and a pro-fiber blogger (moi). They cover, respectively, how put upon BellSouth is, how outraged New Orleans is, how frustrated Lafayette is, and how I think the two cities ought to get together to repeal the Municipal (un)Fair Competition Act.

It's good to see the Independent on it. Worth the read.

Doug over at LUSFTTH has a take on the issue too. Doug's definitely in the frustrated AND outraged column.

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