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.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.
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.”
$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.
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.)