“Vitter visits chamber, vows to work to protect fiber plan from challenges”

In a welcome reaffirmation reported by the Advocate US Senator Vitter yesterday made it clear that he continues to support LUS’ fiber-optic initiative and will work from his seat on the commerce committee to make sure that federal legislation doesn’t damage Lafayette’s interests. Vitter was an early supporter–the only Federal level candidate that endorsed the plan during the last election (to my knowledge)–and has continued to evidence quiet support for the plan.

From the Courreges story:

Vitter was in town to talk to the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce about past and future congressional actions affecting the state and the Lafayette area.

He said that Congress will be working on a broadband telecommunications act in the next year or two, and his seat on the Senate Commerce Committee means he’ll be dealing with that legislation directly.

Vitter said he’s aware of the voter-approved plan to allow LUS to provide broadband internet, telephone and cable TV through fiber-optic lines to every home and business in the city of Lafayette.

The plan, fought in court, the Legislature and before the state Public Service Commission by telecommunications giants BellSouth and Cox Communications, had the backing of the Lafayette chamber, parish Republicans and Democrats and several other groups.

“I don’t want to do anything at the federal level to stop that,” Vitter said.

Good News; and important for the future of the venture that Lafayette has undertaken.

Now if only we can get him to co-sponsor Lautenberg-McCain…that bill, widely supported by municipal and, consumer groups as well as Intel would protect municipalities rights to serve their citizens without state or federal interference.

In the “I’m not sure what to make of it” department: the Advertiser ran two stories that featured Vitter and reported on his words. (1, 2) The sum total of Advertiser reporting on the topic of this post:

He will be involved in writing a new Telecommunications Act that he hopes will reward innovation and not become outdated as technology changed.

Without the Baton Rouge paper we’d have no sense of the tenor of those comments on the most contentious issue of the season. In fact we’d have no sense that Lafayette’s telecommunicaton project and the position of our US Senator even came up. That’s not right.

There is something very weird going on over at the Gannett papers. Some sort of byplay resulting from the Benjamin Debacle? A sort of “If you can’t get it right don’t touch it at all sort of caution?” I hope the new editor straightens it all out.

By the way: Who is responsible for editorial oversight of Benjamin these days? The new editor? Ted Power? Is Benjamin responsible for supervising himself? Inquiring minds want to know.

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