"Since we launched our Fiber for the future initiative, the positive response we've received from the community has been overwhelming. I've had the opportunity to meet with business leaders, educators, medical professionals and economic development advisors to discuss the amazing potential fiber optics holds for our community's growth. But the real reward has been my dialog with everyday citizens, working men and women with families who are excited about the enhanced quality of life this incredible technology offers."
Terry Huval, in the LUS PDF newsletter, November, 2004.
Photo Linked From: http://www.lus.org/piclib/4.jpg
Terry Huval heads the municipal utilty in Lafayette, La., which has been battling the political clout of the state's telecommunications giants, including Bell South, and Cox Cable.
MATERIAL BELOW SUMMARIZED from stories in the Lafayette, La., Daily Advertiser by reporter Clair Taylor. [email@example.com]
On July 16, 2005, voters (27% turnout), approved 12,290 to 7,507, or 62 percent to 38 percent, proceeding with the controversial fiber-to-the-home project. The vote authorized Lafayette Utilities System to sell up to $125 million in bonds for a fiber to the home and business project.
It will involve extending fiber optics cable down every city street, then offering residents and businesses the option of receiving high-speed Internet, telephone and/or cable TV service through LUS. City officials said they believed it can offer those services at lower prices than incumbents such as BellSouth and Cox Communications.
The next step for LUS is to work with the Louisiana Public Service Commission on its rule making, a move that can affect how much LUS can charge and could prevent LUS from guaranteeing the fiber bonds with revenue from its electric, sewer and water divisions.
Without delays, Huval said July 17, LUS could have the bond money in hand in four to five months. Then the utility would hire an engineering firm to prepare engineering on every pole and lot in the city.
On July 18, Huval said Lafayette Utilities System should be able to connect its first fiber-to-the-home customers in about two years and could be serving everyone in the city in three to four years, unless it faces further hurdles from opponents.
ALSO SUMMARIZED FROM THE BATON ROUGE ADVOCATE:
The LUS Initiative, called Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH), proposes to bring fiber optics to every home and business in Lafayette in order to deliver cable TV, telephone, and Internet services at a cost of 20 percent less than current providers. A special election was called last month to decide whether the city could issue $125 million worth of bonds to fund the project, according to The Advocate.
Under the LUS plan, the 25-year bonds could be paid off within 15 years, with LUS capturing 50 percent of the phone and cable markets. About 70 percent of consumers and 80 percent of businesses are interested in the fiber optics service, LUS surveys show.
BellSouth and Cox Communications, the local telephone and cable companies who are strongly opposed to the project, filed a lawsuit earlier this year citing that the utility company was using a portion of state bond law that contained no provision for citizens to call for a voter referendum, according to Huval. The state district court ruled in favor of BellSouth and Cox Communications and in March, LUS decided to go through with the voter referendum on their own.
LUS fiber optic connections have already been installed in 18 Lafayette-area schools and they could start activating consumers within two years. To begin the project, LUS is planning trial areas in two parts of the city, a mix of high and low-income and residential and commercial areas.
FROM THE NOVEMBER, 2004, NEWSLETTER OF
"Three things stand out as we move closer to a green light on this project: