Monday, March 05, 2007

LITE and Fiber attract new business services

The Advertiser trumpets the addition of a new tech support company, General Informatics, to the stable of companies located at the LITE center. According to the company it was Lafayette's technological resources that attracted the business:
[Company technology advisor] Camel said the main attraction for the company was Lafayette's technology that allows for fast transfer of information.

"We have a temporary office in Abdalla Hall now, and the speeds there are just amazing," Camel said. "It was great for us to find a place like Lafayette that has so much, in terms of fiber and the other technological advances that will allow us to do our work well."
General Informatics has an impressive resume for a young company:
Microsoft has awarded the company's solution as the top solution for small business, and in 2006, it was named Company of the Year by LSU's Louisiana Business and Technology Center.
The company specializes in providing technical support to small businesses:
"We really try to focus on the small mom-and-pop type businesses and allow them to be on a level playing field with other, larger companies."
Notice please, that this, formal announcement takes place within weeks of the court decision that clears the way for Lafayette to build its delayed fiber to the home network. It is hard not to wonder if those two are connected. Companies like General Infomatics are service companies. They locate where they think plenty of small businesses needing their help are or will be located. All other things being equal that means large cities. But sometimes all other things are not equal: a top-notch company will also be VERY aware of how the available infrastructure limits the solutions that they can reasonably propose for a small business. If you've got three dental surguries scattered around town you simply can't afford solutions that demand a private 100 meg intranet to achieve the efficiencies that otherwise might be possible. But Lafayette will have pervasive fiber; no private, expensive, one-off networking will be necessary. In Lafayette companies like General Informatics won't have to see their solutions constrained by bandwidth availability.

So, it seems to me, General Informatics has simply made the judgment that smaller Lafayette will be a fertile field for the development of new "
mom-and-pop type businesses" because Lafayette's fiber network will "allow them to be on a level playing field with other, larger companies."

Make no mistake: this is VERY good news. What would really benefit Lafayette is not so much one-shot big employers (though we will take all of those we can get, of course) but a growing and healthy small business community. Some of those will grow big enough to notice but by and large their successes--fueled by their energy, fiber, and support companies like GI--will be what really makes a difference in the lives of Lafayette citizens.

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