Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Clarksville Chronicles: 3 Points

I'm following the news on Clarksville (the Tennessee city whose fiber deployment rivals Lafayette's in size) since they're a bit ahead of us on their deployment schedule and their experience should help us anticipate our own. (LPF coverage) Today's chronicle of their progress includes the selection of their marketing director, a map of their progress, and a few thoughts about their newspaper—and ours.

A Marketing Director
Clarksville, according the The Leaf, has chosen a Marketing Director with an interesting history in the cable business and, most recently, as executive director of the local Chamber of Commerce. She talks about her new job:

As the telecommunications marketing manager, I will be responsible for providing the management, direction and planning of the marketing and promotion of CDE's services offered through the fiber to the home project.

This will include developing product strategy, product pricing, packaging, research and training of the products.

The biggest benefit for the consumer here is choice. CDE's new fiber-to-the-home technology will allow them to offer services such as video, Internet and telephone. CDE has invested in the most up-to-date technology for the delivery of these new services.

With her history, she'll likely also be the public face of the project. Given Huval's high profile that part of the job description may not apply here. But we should look forward to the appointment of a person to manage the marketing of Lafayette's system. The Lafayette system will have to be sold; this is a spot where LUS will be learning new skills. We may be thrilled to have a telecom company with the sensibility of a public utility (I'm looking forward to it!) but it will have to be sold vigorously and smartly—a skill that the wasn't necessary for the old municipal utilities. The selection of someone to fill the marketing director's job will be crucial.

A Contruction Map
They're already building and have a nifty-keano map of the current build. I'm looking forward to a similar one here in Lafayette and to seeing my area of town turn green.

Gannett Newspapers
The Leaf-Chronicle, like The Daily Advertiser, is a Gannett newspaper. That means that the two largest cities in the country with municipal FTTH builds are both "Gannett Towns." That opens up a pretty large opportunity for the media chain. The corporation is in a position to do itself a favor and come off like local heroes.

Its presence in these cities gives it a window onto a digital world that won't exist in most places in this country for 20 years. If Gannett were to put some real resources into developing not just a state-of-the-art web presence but a cutting edge, research-driven project in the two cities it could learn something about how to survive in the emerging new network-dominated news environment. And it could do it in a way that teams with the local community; helping with the research, sharing data, and building applications that drive usage and celebrate the new ultra high-speed intranet connections of the Lafayette network. Thats the sort of thing that is really "local."

Anyone who follows modern media at all knows that newspapers are seeing very troubled waters ahead and are floundering about how to survive, much less thrive in an environment where the news (and hence advertising dollars) flows outside their pages. No chain will ever get a better chance to learn in a relatively safe environment than Gannett.

In Lafayette and Clarksville Going Local means going high-tech on the local network...or going under.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Has LUS already started their fiber build?