Thursday, February 07, 2008

Phase 1 Service Area Announced

Well the big announcement has finally been made. The first areas to be served by fiber are now set. Here's a screen capture from the interactive map on the LUS website:

Someone in that map will be the first person served with a projected date of January 2009 for the official launch of the network.

Take a good look at that map (click for a larger version or jump to the interactive map on the LUS website)—that's an awfully large chunk of the city encompassing almost all of the traditional core neighborhoods. Just at-a-glance I'd say that it covers around half the population. Maybe more. It's a very aggressive first stage.

Here's the 4 part buildout map:

The system will be complete by 2011 with those in Phase 4 the last customers brought online in the city.

"How'd they decide that?" those of you in Phases 3 and 4 may be asking. LUS says that there were a number of factors, among them:
  1. Huval said: "...how can we get to the most customers at the cheapest cost." meaning densely populated regions where the utility anticipates a high take rate

  2. They also said they wanted a good mix of residential and businesses but preferring a higher than average percentage of residential. The rationale there is that businesses are slower to move to new services and they want a quick uptake. (Of course it also has to factor that the residents are the owners...and when the owners want service they tend to get preferential treatment.)

  3. Terry Huval also said that areas with aerial service (service on poles) were preferred in the initial build because it is cheaper to run services in those areas. LUS should get more bang for its buck out of those investments.
Now if you know Lafayette you can see how these points played out by looking at the map. Older, hence for the most part more densely settled neighborhoods with smaller lots are in Phase 1. Those are also the neighborhoods with aerial service. And that all makes financial sense. But it also makes political sense. There is a northern and a southern segment--and in our city that denotes, fairly or unfairly, black and white, creole and cajun/Americain, and poor and well-off. Read by Lafayette eyes it is a declaration that all will be served; none will be left out. The pattern that falls out of LUS decision making-parameters has the consequence of serving more people in the city core, and a larger percentage of the community's most needy first. This, we should note with satisfaction, is exactly the opposite of the pattern shown by corporations like AT&T who have consistently demanded they be allowed to serve the wealthy suburbs in preference to the core community and who will not, in fact, promise to serve that population at all. Public ownership makes a real difference and a difference our community can see from day 1.

Three other things of interest: 1) pricing was briefly discussed and, contrary to the impression that the speakers gave, there was a bit more info on pricing. 2) There are already rumbles about service outside of Lafayette. Diplomatically handled by the administration....but not dismissed. 3) Durel is very big the intranet and the potential for all that enourmous peer-to-peer bandwidth to change the equasion in Lafayette. He's right about that. But more on those points in a follow-up post.

(And YES: I AM in Phase 1! On the southern edge of the northern area. YESSS! :-) )

5 comments:

Raymond said...

That is - without a doubt - the most painful map I've used ever. I've only been in Lafayette for about 5 years, and as I work at home, I don't know the streets well, but the roads are so difficult to read I gave up after 5 minutes of trying to find East Bayou Parkway. I _think_ I'm the area, but my head hurts. With examples like the maps at Google and elsewhere, they could have done much better here imho.

John said...

Hi Raymond,

I do hope you are in Phase 1!

I have to say I agree about the difficulty of the map....the temptation to use the flash and glitter of flash programming (that name should have made people wary) for something other than flashy extras is at fault.

Navigation should never get in the way of the data. And it does here. The looking glass with the tiny center focus, an unnecessarily darkened surround and a body that blocks the underlying text around what you want to read is "clever" in the worst sense.

You'll be happy to know I saw folks from the design company at the press conference and I've already said something about the flash navigation. In their defense they say it is a work in progress...I just think they need to hurry up make that progress. :-)

I'm tempted to try a google overlay myself....

Raymond said...

Who is the design company? As a web developer in Lafayette, I'm always interested in meeting feeler developers.

John said...

The Graham Group is handling most of LUS' publicity. It is my understanding that they are doing this in-house. (Though that means different things to different people. :-) )

In their defense...they're trying to put forward as zippy and progressive a face for Lafayette as they can manage. And that is a good basic strategy—the product isn't stodgy and the promotion shouldn't be either. I just don't think this was a wise place to get fancy with flash.

Raymond said...

Ah - GG actually hosts our group (www.acadiana-aug.org), so I can complain to them in person. ;)