Thursday, April 27, 2006

WBS: Lafayette Sued, Again

Whats Being Said Dept.

Broadband Reports includes a short piece on BellSouth and Cox's latest lawsuit. As always what's really interesting about BBR is the comments.

If you want to know what tech types in other parts of the country think about this make the jump. Some teasers:
Why can't the government just wack everyone of Bell South's lawyers?

They're getting awfully annoying.
How does this happen....

...when a single corporation, driven by green, can sue a town, of voters/elected members who democratically VOTED on a plan to improve their city.

If corporations can successfully squash government/citizen voted actions out in the open through the court systems, we are in trouble.

Clearly the town wants next gen. type fibre, BellSouth should get on the wagon and offer up some type of agreement to help or anything, instead of doing nothing but trying to suck the town dry. God forbid they have significant competition.


Anonymous said...

i love the continued logic that because the citizens of Lafayette voted in favor of something then all other laws should be disregarded. Extend the argument......We voted for the fiber project so, laws be damned, let's just "whack" the Bellsouth lawyers so we can move on. All these silly laws are getting in our way.

Shad Price said...

Yeah the laws they wrote and paid to get put in more than likely.

Besides, they asked for the vote. They wanted the vote. They had to have the vote. They got it, and of course it wasn't enough because it didn't give them what they wanted. So they decide the best tactics are the dirty tactics. The ones that involve lots of money and lots of sleaze. :)

I'm sure that you are right though, LUS should follow the law, because that's the right thing to do. And guess what? They have been following the law. All they want is a chance to sell the bonds and build the system.

Neal Breakfield said...


We agree that LUS should follow the law. However, I suggest you actually read the law, the ordinances, the lawsuits, and the decisions from the judges. I have read all of the above over and over and guess what? The ordinances that LUS was using have been against the law... i.e. the law that they helped write. If you would like copies of them I would be happy to email them to you.

If Bellsouth had been suing and losing then I would agree with you and John (heaven forbid that I would agree with John) that they were just using dirty stall tactics. That is not the case. Bellsouth has had legitimate reasons to sue and they have won. That is not frivolous.

Our leaders know this. If they do not, then they are not doing their job. If they had written ordinances that followed the law, the bonds would already be sold and the project would be underway. The way that they wrote the ordinances actually SCREWS US, THE CITIZENS. We are forced to make up the difference through utility rate increases if the project does not make money. That is against the law.

More importantly, it is competition that drives innovation, brings better services and brings prices down. What do you think happens to private sector investment into a market segment when the government enters it, and then sets itself up so that it can force its constituents to pay for its losses if it has any? The danger is that we could end up with a half-ass government owned and operated system... and no other alternatives. That is what usually happens when the government takes over something. Take a look at our roads and our schools. What is your satisfaction level with government services in general? Do you feel that you pay a fair amount of taxes and you really get your money's worth?

I am not making that statement as something that I thought of on my own! Lots of people a LOT smarter than me have studied this over and over again and come up with that answer. If you don't at least acknowledge that as a risk, then you are either trying to re-write history or you are content to be ignorant of it.



John said...

Shad's right in all this.

BellSouth/Cox did write this law. And in its original version would have made Lafayette's competition impossible. Forced to a compromise LUS agreed to a bad law. (Mistakenly in my opinion and I said so at the time.) Shad's also right that BellSouth (and Neal) sued Lafayette to force a vote and when they got a vote that didn't settle matters either.

Neal is wrong. The ordinance doesn't "screw" the citizens, that would be fading monopolists BellSouth and Cox who wrote a law that in the name of fair competition, incredibly, imposes disabilities that they'd never accept themselves. (If they had to follow LUS's rules BS couldn't support their rapidly failing landline business with Cingular revenues as they are currently doing.) The entire structure of their law is set up to force higher prices on LUS consumers than those customer/owners would otherwise have to pay. This goes so far as to force them to pretend not to own their own poles and to pass through the cost of pole attachments to its citizens. Come on already. This law is not and never has been about fairness. Anyone who thinks that BS/ATT or Cox either gives a good hoot about any citizen's taxes or that those megacorps are actually put at any real disadvantage by the intimidating threat of "cross subsidization" by Lafayette's sewer system has been smoking something they hadn't oughta.

It is all about advantage. Theirs.