Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Advice: Be Angry

The Advertiser, in this morning's editorial, advocates that we feel some anger about the continuing attempts to abuse the legal system in an attempt to stop the fiber to the home project.

They're right, if woefully late to that conclusion. Of course we should be angry--and the Advertiser lays out the reasons.

1) Simple fairness:
The people support the project. The courts have found no legal basis for preventing the venture from going forward. Any further effort to use the courts to thwart the will of the people would be absurd.
2) Cost:
The cost of the delaying tactics is substantial, and we who support the project pay a substantial part. First, of course, the cost of defending against the ongoing lawsuits falls on all Lafayette's taxpayers. LUS legal fees have totaled $100,000 thus far, and the cost will rise with the expected appeal and any other future litigation. Interest rates have increased 0.3 percent during the delays. That translates to an additional $6 million in the cost of paying back the bonds.
(That .3% is actually only the part that is attributable to the Naquin-Eastin legal delays--had we not had delays in the legislature, earlier court delays, an unnecessary referendum to confirm what the council had already decided, a PSC delaying battle, and the initial attempts to legally outlaw the project LUS would already be serving customers and saving us all money. A year ago, when the referendum passed, the rates were a full 2 points lower than they are today. Two years ago, when Cox and BellSouth were passing the (un)Fair Competition Act, they were a 3 and a half points lower. Driving up the costs to LUS has always been a prime motivation of the incumbent's delaying tactics.)

3) Lost Benefits:

...What really is at stake is the competitive position of our community in a global economy. The world is experiencing what the Federal Communications Commission calls the "communications revolution." In the years ahead, progress in Lafayette and around the world will be via the information highway. Becoming a leader in telecommunications will position Lafayette for powerful economic progress.

What the city envisions is an infrastructure for the high-tech world of the future. In the very near future, the movement of information will be as much a focus of business and industry - or more so - than the movement of cargo on today's air, rail and highway transportation infrastructure. The availability of advanced, affordable telecommunications services to assure the ultimate efficiency in the transfer of information will be a priority of businesses looking for places to locate or expand operations. The LUS plan will draw them here.

To that I would add savings. LUS will drive prices down. Just the suggestion that LUS will compete has kept Cox from posting any price increases. If we already had the system we'd be seeing even more savings. And have a system we could all be proud of.

The Advertiser closes with:
Citizens of Lafayette should be angered by the stubborn attempts to deprive the community of these tangible benefits.
Yes, we should. And yes, we are.

Now that begs the question of just who we should be angry at. And the answer is all of 'em. The executives at Cox and BellSouth, Elizabeth Easton, Matthew Naquin and the Pendley law firm out of Plaquimines. If you know any of these folks let 'em know what you think.

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