Congrats: Lafayette named “Smart Community”

Congratulations are in order: Lafayette has just been named a “Smart Community” by Last Mile Magazine and Digital City Expo. From the LCG/LUS press release:

“The leadership of Lafayette rightly believes that true broadband – and fiber-optic capabilities to every home – is an essential utility for the economic well-being of the community,” said James Salter, CEO of Atlantic Engineering and a member of the Last Mile Editorial Advisory Board. “Over the past few years, I have seen this leadership step forward repeatedly to build a community FTTH. For that grit, for that determination, Lafayette deserves the Digital City EXPO Smart Community Award.”

Editors cited both the majority vote of Lafayette citizens in June 2005 in favor of the plan and the decision of NuComm International to locate a customer contact center for its technical and service support, customer care, billing and data management company in Lafayette as major reasons for the award.

From Joey Durel:

“Our desires to bring 21st century technology to Lafayette citizens, to spark job growth and to create educational opportunities here at home has been the cornerstone of our fight for this fiber project,” said Joey Durel, Lafayette City-Parish President. “That our efforts have been recognized nationally by this prestigious group underscores the significance of our vision for our community and how it might help others change their world and their future.”

The city–and its leadership–certainly deserve the honor. Lafayette’s success has made it clear that such battles could be won. Salter, who has been involved in a number of southern fiber buildouts, has seen other cities whose populace and leadership were not so determined and whose projects never reached fruition as a consequence. Durel and Huval’s willingness to step up and wage the fight in no uncertain terms was absolutely critical to that victory. The crews over at LCG and LUS ought to step up and take a bow. It’s been earned.

Lafayette shares the award with Cleveland, famous for it OneCleveland (rebranded OneCommunity) digital inclusion/community development project.

The award will be made on April 3 at the Digital City Expo in Ruston, Virgina.

Update 3/15/07: Both the Advertiser and the Advocate carry short stories on the “smart community” award this morning.

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