Sunday, February 25, 2007

"City, LUS launch work on fiber-to-the-home project"

Well, heck... in yesterday's rush I missed a very informative story in the Adverstiser. (I had meetings and family all day.) Mea culpa!

If you missed it too, go back and dig it up. It's a very satisfying story to read in that it covers the flurry of activity that ensued as soon as the fiber plan was approved by the court.

In a nutshell:
Employees hit the ground running Friday morning, while City-Parish President Joey Durel fielded telephone calls congratulating him on the fiber victory.
There's a grab bag of interesting points:

•• Ottinger too thinks it unlikely that any request for a rehearing will be made--on the grounds that it wouldn't likely be successful. Of course, being seccessful in their myriad legal hassles hasn't really been the point; delay has been. But the time when the obstructionist nature of their game can be denied is over. Neither the lawyers, nor Naquin, nor the incumbents that many think behind this as well as an earlier string of lawsuits are likely to have the stomach for the sort of rude dismissal that the court is reputed to be capable of--a dismissal which would underline again that these lawsuits have never been about substance but about delay and trying to get the courts to agree to anticompetitive measures the legislature never intended. (The ones the legislature did intend are bad enough; the incumbent's law still badly needs repealing.)

•• Huval says they might not go for the entire bond cost:
...CCG Consulting, which conducted the feasibility study, is updating his numbers to determine how much in bonds LUS needs for the fiber initiative, Huval said. It will probably be about $110.5 million or less, he said.
Now that's surprising and exhibits a certain confidence that the cost barriers that Cox and BellSouth have institutd in the (Un)Fair law won't delay the pay-back schedule suggested by the feasibility study. Not selling the whole amount that the people authorized would be to forgo a cushion that will be hard to get in any other way. Perhaps (and I don't know) the remainder of the bonds authorized can be sold later should need arise but there would be a political price to pay at that point that might be prohibitive. I do like confidence, however.

•• The hardware issues are being looked at, the requests for proposals are being drawn up, and you can know with certainty that the vendors are flocking in to make their pitches. LUS has committed to public forums that are intended to discover what we, the public, want in a system. Those desires might well have an impact on the eventual technical specs of the system so I'm looking for an early announcement of such forums to clear the way for the detailed technical work.

•• Cox says this "changes nothing in terms of its ability..." to compete. Sheerest Nonsense. Denial is not a river in Africa.

•• Mayor Durel cautions against taking any long-term contracts with the incumbents. I can see what he means; a tactic of the incumbents has been to try and lock up customers before local competition begins--even to the extent of hiring door-to-door salesmen, an expensive tactic seldom seen these days. I don't see why you shouldn't let these folks spin out their spiel--and then calmly offer to accept those juicy terms if the contract end date can be set to be the month before LUS is expected in your neighborhood. Reap the benefits of competition and the go directly to the hometown boys. (Do keep track of that end date, though, you'll not want to miss out on any of the fun.)

The ball is rolling now and a different set of games are being played out. Good. The delay game had gotten real old.

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