Fiber to the Schools

The Adverstiser has a short piece on the ongoing FTTS (Fiber to the Schools) project in Lafayette parish. Announced back in March of ’05 the plan outlined a project to wire up all the parish schools with real bandwidth. The project was to be funded with a 70% match from a federal grant.

The plan was to wire the city schools first, completing that in the summer before the 05-06 school year and then to complete wiring the parish in 07. The city schools were completed on time and apparently the parish schools are pretty much on schedule too.

The immediate pretext to the story is that the Youngsville city council has joined the Broussard and Scott in approving a plan that would allow the use of their rights of way and its sounds like Youngsville was being a bit fussy about that:

The projected completion date for the project is fall 2007, Huval said.

“Our goal is to have it done before the beginning of the next school year, but we might lag behind that, because it took a time to get the agreements put together that went to the (city) councils.”

The right of way delay is ironic since Lafayette and LUS have been prime movers in the Louisiana effort to preserve the ability of local municipalities to control their rights of way. BellSouth/AT&T’s have attempted to remove such control based in part on the argument that it leads to delay in rolling out new services. Had the phone company got its way and had Blanco not vetoed BellSouth’s bill LUS wouldn’t have to negotiate rights of way agreements at all.

As mentioned before in these pages the comprehensive buildout of the Lafayette backbone into all corners of the parish has hopeful implications for a fiber network beyond the boundaries of LUS’ current Lafayette city footprint. Having a backbone in place throughout those areas, and the rights of way agreements secured clears the path for possible future expansion.

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