Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Stay Tuned"

The Independent came out today and in it is a story on LUS Fiber—the launch, the short delay, and (very little on) the pace of the rollout. There's info there that I've not seen elsewhere; evidence that the reporter probably actually called up and asked some of the more obvious questions—and found the limits of what LUS is currently willing to say.

On immediate service:
This week, it is sending out mailers to a select number of Lafayette residents eligible to begin receiving service. Connecting the service will take approximately two weeks from the time an eligible resident calls in to subscribe. Billing will begin March 1. LUS Director Terry Huval will not say how many mailers will be going out through the week, or how many people LUS is ready to begin providing service to.
On longer-term rollout plans:
As far as a timeline for its rollout, LUS is sticking to its initial projections. Last year, LUS released a build-out map breaking the city down into four rollout phases. Huval did say that all residents in Phase I will likely be able to receive service by the end of this year. Beyond that, he says only that LUS expects to have offered the service to everyone within the city limits by the first quarter of 2011. “That’s the objective we’ve set for ourselves.”
The emphasis on quality appears to partially explain both the delay and the slow rollout:
For those customers who do receive service, Huval says he expects they will immediately notice a difference in quality. “The quality of our system is going to be pristine by all standards,” he says. With an all-fiber network, he contends customers should never experience the kind of TV picture pixelation or delay that sometimes occurs when cable providers push their bandwidth to the limit. “The picture quality even on standard definition is significantly superior to what I have seen on standard definition on other providers,” Huval says. “In fact, in some cases, our standard definition doesn’t look too much different than what you would see on high definition. It really has a difference.”

Huval adds LUS’ controlled rollout is due in part to its commitment to quality service. “This is just the beginning,” he says. “We’re hopeful that our customers will be pleased with our customer service, with our constistency, with our reliability.
There's also some good, meaty stuff on the struggles to get the extensive cable channel lineup complete—and a bit about the crucial National Cable Television Cooperative (a coop of small independents that are federally chartered and protected) that has recently re-opened membership. As I understand it, there is also a coop for small telecos...and with LUS an official CLEC, a phone company, they might be in the unique situation to pick and choose between different coop schedules and their own independently negotiated contracts. And it's not just about money—the conditions of use, which could be very important on LUS' very flexible system—would also be in play. Complex stuff indeed.

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