Saturday, February 07, 2009

WBS: "After Five Years Of Fighting, Lafayette Gets Their Fiber"

What's Being Said Dept.

Karl Bode over Broadband Reports is another that has been tracking Lafayette's trials for years and his take on the long-anticipated launch is similar to others who have been watching. It was a fight; one that the citizens won:
We've been tracking the deployment of municipally-owned fiber in Lafayette, Louisiana for years, the project being particularly notable for some of the sleazy efforts made by Cox and AT&T (then SBC) to kill it. Those efforts, back in 2005, included everything from hinting at exporting local support jobs if the deal was approved, to hiring push pollsters to try and convince locals that the government-controlled project would result in politicians rationing consumer TV viewing. Needless to say, Cox and Bellsouth lost.
Bode also notes that we're getting something for our efforts:
A few weeks ago, Lafayette Utilities System (LUS) unveiled their pricing for the service, offering triple play bundles ranging from $84.85 to $200, with downstream broadband services ranging from 10Mbps to 50Mbps (all symmetrical). LUS offers standalone symmetrical 10Mbps for $28.95, 30Mbps for $44.95, and 50Mbps for $57.95. There's no caps, no contracts, and no installation fee.

Those prices handily beat not only local competitors Cox and AT&T (it's now pretty clear why they fought so hard), but carriers in other markets too. Comcast offers a 50Mbps tier in select markets for $139.95 (when bundled), but its upstream speed is 5Mbps. Verizon's 50Mbps/20Mbps service costs $144.95/month standalone, or $139.95 when bundled. The fastest speed AT&T currently offers customers is 18Mbps/1.5Mbps, which is $65 a month if you bundle TV service.
But the real treat for locals is the unalloyed envy exhibited by the usually raucous and dismissive crowd of commentators at the site. The first commentator says: "I would literally murder someone to get symmetrical 50Mbps..." and the ensuing debate continues with a review of which body part other discussants would give to have that access.

As a special treat Joey Durel logs in and plugs the 100 meg peer-to-peer network:
Thank you all for your comments. We are excited by the possibilities this brings to our community. We put together a very conservative business plan and should easily be able to sustain our pricing. Of course as programming costs go up, our prices will go up, and so will the competition. One thing not mentioned is the fact that we are also giving 100MBS peer to peer, for FREE. And, if this initiative doesn't live up to the expectations, my neck is on the chopping block. I think it is worth the minimal risk. And, by the way, this is not backed by the government, so taxpayers are not at risk. These are revenue bonds backed by our utilities system, and while there is some risk it is actually very low. Thanks again,

Joey Durel
Lafayette City-Parish President
And, hey, on top of all that it is sunny and warm in the hub city.

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