Sunday, February 22, 2009

LUS Fiber at the State of the Cty-Parish

Archived Broadcast by Ustream.TV
Fiber figured prominently in Mayor-president Joey Durel's state of the City-Parish address. (All those hyphens have to do with our peculiar consolidated form of government, something which got direct attention in the speech when Durel shared his belief that we'd never have true consolodation.) While political manuvering and recriminations about the failure of the sales tax proposal occupied much of the presenation, friends of fiber had their highlight reel.

The launch of LUS Fiber in early February has to be the signature success of the Durel administration. It was a daring move on Durel's part to so aggressively develop the fiber initiative in his first months and to unfailingly support it in the face of oft ugly opposition from two of the nation's largest and most politically powerful monopolies. That courage was tested locally as well; while the community from left to right overwhelming swung into support, the original power base of the City-Parish's first republican Mayor-president—the monied elite that promoted his candidacy and helped put him in office—was at best tepid and never came through with promised support. Durel's commitment never wavered and he has earned the credit that he began to claim in this speech. He's already reaped the political benefits: his reelection without opposition could be attributed to the fact of his high-profile success in this venture, and to the support he built among those who initially thought he'd be a typical Chamber of Commerce politician. By confounding expectations he both won new constituiencies and freed himself from old obligations. Durel is now, without doubt, both independent and the reigning political power in parish. (For an interesting view into his character I'd recommend reading this week's cover story on Dee Stanley in the Independent. His relationship with his chief luetenant is revealing. Don't miss, as well, the fact that he unflinchingly backed Tery Huval's fiber project even though, as the story reveals, Huval had cut an ad in support of his opponent. Character.)

But on to the story of the speech: Both the Advertiser and the Advocate covered the speech. The Advertiser also has its own video and you can get the LCG version off UStream. (The Advertiser's looks to be of higher resolution but autoplays.) AOC ran it live through convoluted technological tricks and you should be able to find it in rerun there.

The fiberlicious aspects:

It's Neat:
Via the Advocate:
The fiber system, which went on-line this month, offers residential Internet service up to 50 Mbps, a speed available in few areas of the country and generally costing more than twice as much as in Lafayette.

Connection speeds from customer to customer on the fiber system within Lafayette will be at 100 Mbps.
Via the Advertiser:
Durel also showed a snapshot of what LUS Fiber television customers will see when they turn on their sets. Viewers will be able to see a menu with local and national news, weather, public events and announcements, as well as the current agendas for City-Parish Council and Lafayette Parish School Board meetings.

We've Been Bragging on it:
Via the Advocate, Durel said:
“Last March I testified before Congress about our fiber,” Durel said. “I was able to look two dozen congressman in the eye and say that what we are going to have in Lafayette they wouldn’t have 20 or 25 years from now. That’s how far ahead of the curve that I think Lafayette is.”

Others have noticed:
Via the Advertiser
Durel said that LUS Fiber, which launched earlier this month in some parts of the city, has been a major factor in Lafayette's high rankings on several national lists. In the past year alone, different publications have named Lafayette one of the top 10 cities for the creative class, one of the top 10 innovative markets, one of the top 50 best places to work and play and the No. 1 city in America for new employment, among other recognitions."What makes many of these recognitions exciting to me is that several mention our Fiber to the Premises initiative," Durel said. "I don't think we would have received some of them had we not pursued it. Last March I testified before Congress about our fiber. I was able to look two dozen congressmen in the eye and say that what we are going to have in Lafayette, they wouldn't have 20 or 25 years from now. That's how far ahead of the curve I think we are."
Getting to this point required a political effort and Durel was at the head of that teamwork. He helped make it sure that the inevitable fiber network that will be built in Lafayette will be ours. And make no mistake: The most important feature of our network is that it is our network—not speed, not cheaper fees, not channel lineups, not bragging rights, not jobs, or development: the fact that it's ours and we can do with it as we think best is by far its most important feature. It is independence that we won; that first and foremost.

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