Friday, September 25, 2009

WBS: Lafayette as the Example

Glenn Fleishman has an article up that mentions Lafayette as the premier example of a city that has built a network in order to bring advanced technology to all its citizens:

In Lafayette, Louisiana, the city fought a multi-year battle against incumbent providers for the right to build its own fiber network. It won, and the FTTH network went live for the first phrase of the city–with about a fifth the households of Seattle–in February.

The reason for the fight wasn’t about the right to 500 channels, about low prices, or about the city wanting a piece of the action. It was about the city’s desire to have 21st century technology in place reaching every person, company, and institution. (emphasis mine)

The context is Seattle's mayoral race; the candidate who came out of the primary in first place, McGinn, has made providing a city-owned FTTH network a major plank in his campaign for office.

Fleishman's point is a good one: The real reason for building a community-owned communications utility is to gain control of your future and to directly benefit the citizen-owners of the new utility and their community. Other oft-mentioned rationales, from fancy services, to the benefit for businesses is derivative of that motive and not the main rationale.

It's a good thing to have our real motives recognized by someone outside the city—and nice that the real meaning of the victory in Lafayette is being learned.

No comments: