What's Being Said Department
Benoît Felten, of the French Blog Fiberevolution interviewed Terry Huval (in English) at Freedom To Connect and has posted the video to his blog. Terry roles out the history of the project, the hurdles it has overome, and brags on its qualities for an international audience.
Note particularly the remarks from about the 4:25 mark on the video when Benoit asks about "the next generation of services" to be launched. There Huval discusses two hot topics: 1) a city-wide wireless system and 2) a smart grid for the electrical system. Both of these have been discussed locally but this discussion is particularly succienct and to the point: The wireless network is to "blanket the city with a wireless cloud" and will perhaps be used lower the cost of internet to those who have had trouble affording its cost. (With Cox preparing its own wireless network it will also soon be a competitive necessity.) The smart grid idea involves using the network (perhaps its wifi portion?) to facilitate remote meter reading, outage management, and time of use rates that allows customers to take advantage of cheaper off-hours electricity. Whats new there is the mention of the stimulus funds being made available in the stimulus package for smart grids. LUS clearly intends to apply for those funds and receiving it could make that a sooner rather than later addition.
The video closes up with "lessons learned" advice for other utilities. It's worth the ten minutes of your time to take a listen.
The talk Huval gave at the Freedom to Connect conference—where the above interview was taped—was accompanied by a slide show that has been made available at the conference website. That, too will likely be of interest to some readers. There's a short history, the pricing structure, a couple of network diagrams and a bit of laignappe at the end that he didn't show at conference: a head-to-head list of the channel lineups between Cox and LUS...I'm sure that is changing daily on the LUS side but it makes for an impressive comparison.
Hmmn...While you are looking at Huval's slideshow you might want to try and decrypt Felten's as well. It was a very interesting analysis of the European FTTX experience with reference to how that experience might apply to the US. Felten comes down on the side of thinking open networks make the most sense from a purely business standpoint—not a point widely accepted here but much more prevelant in europe. Even more intriguing was his analysis of the different kinds of "open" networks and which types really work best to provide the widest array of consumer choice at the lowest prices...those clever Swedes....
Felten and Huval also have something in common besides a fondness for fiber...they were almost as popular with the crowd for their musical abilities as for the presentation: Felten on the harmonica and Huval on the fiddle. (And no, he didn't wear his red cap.)