Gene Flyte of Lafayette is angry at BellSouth...and wants to cut BellSouth out of any benefits of LUS' current fiber loops. I'm not sure that BellSouth makes much use of the fiber loop (though they would if they were half so smart as they think they are). It's certainly true that the days of "helping out" a "local" business by arranging backups and interconnects should be over with BellSouth who has conspicuously forfeited any right to be considered a good citizen of the community.
I've no doubt that BellSouth simply doesn't care about these matters but I do think they should know that resentful reactions like Gene's are common. Given the chance, the people of this community will be more than happy to leave BellSouth "out of the loop" whenever the opportunity offers. BellSouth should hope that its federal lobbying effort to exempt itself from the local franchise obligations that other video operators have always had will succeed. If it fails the people of Lafayette will be in no mood to cut BellSouth any kind of deal at all.
(A large part of the reason that BellSouth feels free to abuse local communities in ways that Cox hesitates to do is that Cox actually has to deal with local communities to be able to offer local service and BellSouth, exempted by federal law years ago, does not. Cox has been silent recently and, astute readers may have noticed that the council declined to bump up the 3% franchise fees it currently pays to anything like the 5% it could charge by federal statute. I suggest that Cox's silence and the council's forbearance are connected. And that BellSouth ought to have to deal with the same issues if they want to go into competition with Cox and LUS to offer video.)
Mr. Flyte also has a bone to pick with ULL for not stepping up to the plate on fiber. He's right. UL is a wonderful part of this community but they've given evidence, with the horse farm issue and with museum questions and, yes, with their inactivity on fiber, that they may have forgotten that that is true. I fear that the old boy network that Joey Durel attacked during last year's state of the city-parish address is at work here as they appear to be in the other situations that have embarrassed ULL recently. Old friends, old connections, past favors...they should go out the door when the good of the community is at stake.