Thursday, March 19, 2009

"LUS FIBER: Company working to expand network's reach"

This morning's Advertiser ran a short story on LUS Fiber derived from the presentation given last night at the Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation meeting. In a change from the usual Huval-led LUS presentation Amy Broussard from LUS sales and marketing made the presentation.

As one might expect given the venue the presentation focused on economic development with LUS reporting in on buisiness costs and new economic development opportunities. Probably the headliner for the evening was the announcement of the pricing structure for LUS Fiber's internet business offerings:
Those are $64.95 per month for 10 megabits per second; $119.95 per month for 50 megabits per second and $199.95 per month for 100 megabits per second. The speeds refer to both uploading and downloading.
Those are good prices for businesses. Note that business users were given the opportunity to pay for 100 meg connections (not on the price list for residential customers). I attended the IEEE VR event alluded to in the text of the story—where a questioner from the floor asked if residents could buy the 100 meg package if they wanted to. Nonplussed, Terry allowed that if they wanted to give LUS their money, yes he'd sell them that. (The general reaction was laughter but the questioner clearly was pleased. I'd be fascinated to know what he has in mind.)

It was surely at that IEEE Virtual Reality event that Huval found interest among gamers:
LUS Director Terry Huval recently spoke to a meeting of several international engineers, and several in the international gaming industry asked Huval about how they might be able to apply LUS' system.

"They are interested in what LUS Fiber has to offer to their businesses," she said.

What LUS has to offer the gaming industry is unbelieveable speeds, low latency and a whole population that has affordeable access to the fastest speeds available in this country for the lowest prices around. A large, diverse, population on a next-generation network is the PERFECT testing ground for next-generation games. It's "an in the wild" realistic place to test. The alternative is lab testing with controlled populations or relying on the upper-crust population that can afford Verizon's top speeds. I assume that game developers know that that population is not the one that they will be selling to eventually. I'm not at all surprised that once the advanced gamer group that attended the international meeting of the the IEEE VR grop saw what was available that they swarmed Terry with questions. Not at all surprised. (Here's an idea: LUS should sponsor gaming tournements leagues in the city and be prepared to support international gaming competitions when, inevitably, everyone wants to come here to play.)

The IEEE Virtual Reality Conference was quite a "catch" for Lafayette and the LITE center where much advanced VR work is done. This is a feather in the cap of Carolina Cruz-Neira who worked hard to bring the international gathering to a small city without a major airport. Having participated in esoteric academic conferences myself I can imagine the resistance. It is a testament to her energy and the existence of LUS Fiber and LITE in the same small city that the conference choose to come here. The effort may well pay off handsomely if any of these contacts decide to bring the gaming industry (now larger than the movie industry) to Lafayette.

During the meeting Steve Creeden (the article mispells this "Creeton") hinted that LUS was not adverse to bringing fiber to areas outside the city. Huval at IEEE was also fairly direct about expansion when asked. Yes, the focus for now is on getting the network up in the city—but nobody is being coy about the eventual prospects for expansion. And that, in and of itself, represents a healthy maturation. The question is clearly on the table. Folks in the outlying districts should start getting their arguments together and start looking at those stimulus funds....there's a once-in-lifetime opportunity available to only a very few communities in the US staring you in the face.

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