The shape of things to come: Eatel gives us a preview

This just in (via Mike) from Baton Rouge Business Report’s “Daily Reports.”

The Bus Rep briefs are notoriously hard to get a stable URL link to. Here’s the whole thing:

Cox ready enter Ascension phone market

The Louisiana Public Service Commission has approved an agreement between EATEL and Cox that lets the cable provider begin offering telephone service in Ascension Parish. The approval signals escalating competition in Ascension, where EATEL has begun offering TV service to accompany its traditional phone and high-speed Internet access over a fiber optic network. Cox will begin phasing in digital telephone service over its cable system to Ascension customers. The interconnection approval is likely to boost competition in Ascension more than in East Baton Rouge, where Cox has the unique position of providing bundled services. BellSouth has countered with its own bundle of services, but only by partnering with DirecTV.

It’s the shape of the future here in Lafayette. In Gonzales, EATEL is LUS–it’s got the clear hometown advantage and the clear technological one. With fiber technology and local trust going to the competition, Cox starts out with no advantage other than incumbency.

EATEL is able to buy programming at the same competitive coop rates that LUS will be able to. EATEL will garner the same maintenance and upgrade savings that LUS will.

This should be instructive–we’ll see Cox preview its competitive strategy against fiber. And we’ll get to see the competitive response a fiber-enabled hometown boy can raise.

Stay tuned.