“Council to consider fiber issue”

The city-parish council and Lafayette Parish Utilities Authority (LPUA) are meeting tomorrow night to consider the latest interaction of the fiber bond ordinance. That ordinance sets conditions on and authorizes the issuance of bonds to support the fiber build. You can show up to watch the goings-on. The special LCG-LPUA meeting starts at 5:30 and, unusually, for a council meeting you can be sure to actually see the ordinance heard at that time. The bond ordinance is not only the first item it is the only item on the agenda for the meeting.

The most important point is covered in the closing paragraphs of the Advertiser story:

On July 16, by a vote of 12,290 to 7,507, or 62 percent to 38 percent, city of Lafayette voters agreed to issue up to $125 million in bonds to pay for the fiber-to-the-home project.

Unless additional lawsuits are filed, LUS could be prepared to issue bonds in July with the first customers receiving service 18 months later, said LUS Director Terry Huval.

The voters of Lafayette need to be very aware that without continual interference from BellSouth we’d already be building our network. –And that it could have been built more cheaply and without legal strictures that seek to force LUS to charge more for its services than its expenses would otherwise necessitate if BellSouth would have chosen to compete with rather than legislate against LUS.

The latest ordinance seeks to align itself with the latest, appeals court, interpretation of the Local Government (un)Fair Competition Act. (This differs from the interpretations of the city, LUS, legislators involved in the negotiations that shaped the law, and the trial court. Cox, apparently finding some residue of honor, did not feel free join the suit. The author says he thought these issues were covered in negotiation. The co-sponsor is spearheading repeal in the senate.)

LUS and the city have offered this new ordinance in the hopes that they can keep the ball rolling but I imagine that what they really want is the chance to rewrite it again after a repeal effort succeeds in the Louisiana legislature.

Folks, Lafayette could use your support again. Both at the meeting tomorrow and, more importantly, during the upcoming lobbying effort at the legislature. Hang in, we are getting there.