Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Durel's State of the City: Fiber & Wireless

I sat through the "State of the City" address this afternoon. The headline in tomorrow's papers will doubtless be about "Safe Lafayette" plan (which, Joey hastened to say, didn't mean that anyone should think that Lafayette wasn't safe now). That and plans to increase funding for roads received top billing in the addresss.

But if that was what you wanted to read about right now you wouldn't be reading Lafayette Pro Fiber. So yes, the mayor did talk about fiber and even mentioned LUS' recent wireless RFP.

"Let’s talk Fiber:" was the way that part of the speech started. Laying into "obstructionists that don’t care about Lafayette or the will of the people"--by which Durel meant Cox, AT&T/BS and their legal minions--he said that they had forced Lafayette to spend the better part of the $3.5 million that Lafayette has laid out so far. But the cost was money well spent according to Durel:
Based on cable rate increases in Baton Rouge that we didn’t experience here for two years, we saved this community $3 million. That is a savings all cable customers enjoyed, even if they voted against our initiative. Competition is good for the consumer and we have proven it.
Durel's right there--and also mentioned in the rest of the Acadiana region had benefited as well since they were locked into pricing structures based on Lafayette's. (That has since changed--Lafayette is now yoked into a Baton Rouge-Acadiana framework and it will be hard to raise or lower prices in one municipality without pulling all the others along with it.)

He also touted the job-creating capacity of the city demonstrating its progressive side saying:
We have already created jobs. I mentioned NuComm earlier. 578 new employees are already on board, with an average pay + benefits of $18,000 a year. That equates to $10.4 million a year economic impact without using any of the usual multipliers.

I said earlier, the CEO told me that our fiber to the premise initiative played a huge role in their decision to locate in Lafayette. When I said that we didn’t even have it yet, his response was “the fact that your community is embracing technology so aggressively was important to us.”
The mulitiplier effect is real and has been an issue on the forum before. In the spoken version of his speech Durel mentioned that taking the mulitipliers into account would up the total to "30, 40, 50 milllion dollars." That's in line with conventional wisdom though I've seen higher ratios numbers used to justify the public subsidy of some private enterprises. It's worth spinning out the math: a 10.4 million payroll plus a 3 million savings to city residents alone yields a minimum of 13.4 million additional dollars circulating in Lafayette. Take a modest multiplier effect of 4X and you get $54.6 million dollars a year as a rough estimate of the yearly wealth increase of the local economy.

$54.6 million dollars. Every year. Add it all up and pretty soon you get real money. And that is before we've actually got a strand of fiber in place. Imagine what real competition will do toward lowering prices and staunching the wealth drain to Atlanta that every AT&T or Cox bill represents. Imagine what a few more businesses that make use of high-grade telecommunications would do to that figure. And that is all before we get to quality of life rewards, digital divide benefits, educational benefits, or the entrepreneurial potential of a full-fledged fiber system.

Durel claimed:
So, just the hope of our bringing fiber has had a tremendous benefit to our community. The legal battle has been some of the best marketing dollars we could have ever spent.
Here applause started to drown out his speech and he slowed down but the Mayor had in mind a more rousing close to this section of the speech. He pushed on:
The money we have spent is an investment in our future! So, I ask you today: Should we continue the fight for Lafayette!?
He got the applause he was looking for even though the timing was a bit off and closed with:
Thank you, I have my marching orders!
Not bad.

The mayor mentioned one silver lining to the long legal delay: Durel said that the cost of the project had fallen by 8 million dollars due to "the maturing of the industry." It's been clear that equipment costs are falling and some claim installation costs are falling as well so it's interesting to see a number put to projected savings. Eight million, that's nice; it amounts to something in the neighborhood of a 6.5% savings.

Wireless? Oh yeah, wireless. It got mentioned but only in the context of LUS operations, governmental efficiency, public safety, and first responder issues. No hints on the possibility of a public wifi network. Oh well.

(If you'd like to look at the written version of the speech in its entirety you can find it at the LCG website.)


Anonymous said...

So, just the hope of our bringing fiber has had a tremendous benefit to our community. The legal battle has been some of the best marketing dollars we could have ever spent.

great idea joey????????

JOHN are you kidding me? is this guy stupid.
Is this the mayor of your town?

John said...

Lord-a-mercy folks we have another anonymous coward whose idea of intelligent critique is jump in spitting insults without bothering with any of the evidence stuff.


I am intolerant of people who don't have the courage to use their own name when insulting others. Own your insults or take them elsewhere.

You apparently want to be taken for a "smart" person since you are so excised about the stupidity of others. Be advised that you don't have enough evidence from the bits of single speech put forth here to reasonably call anyone stupid. Pretending that you do brings into question your own intelligence. (But perhaps you are just careless.)

If you disagree with Durel's assertions you could offer evidence that he is wrong. That could be interesting.

You could assert that Cox didn't hold up on price increases, or you could say that the Nucomm CEO didn't make clear the importance he placed on coming to a community that embraced technology. You could even say you don't believe in multipliers.

Of course you'd be wrong on all these points. Maybe that is why you don't trouble yourself to engage in reason but prefer to spit insults.

I suggest trying reason. Its' good for what ails you.

If you can't be troubled to do so--and you can't be troubled to put your good name on line as a good-faith surety that you believe what you say--you can't expect people to take you seriously.

Shad Price said...

Anon - your argument is pretty sad and obviously based on ignorance or a need to spread mis-information. Maybe a combination of both?

They (meaning BellSouth/Cox and it's paid shills) sued LUS first, and on more than one occasion. LUS is only trying to end this stupid delaying tactic by bringing the fight to them. So, blame pretty much gets laid at the feet of the Incumbents, for all of the money that LUS has had to spend fighting them for the right to lay fiber.

If the Incumbants were interested in laying fiber and giving the residents of Lafayette true next generation broadband with their own FTTH offerings, they are free to do so and have always been free to do so. In fact, they were asked on more than one occasion and they chose not to deploy.

You really could benefit the community by being less ignorant and supporting your local government. Maybe if you would have been on board, they wouldn't have had to spend all of that tax money so "frivolously" by having to defend themselves from stupid, baseless, lawsuits.

They asked for a vote from the people. They were given a vote by the people, and the people voted YES. How embarrassing for the Incumbents not to mention the fact that it exposes their true nature through their actions.