Sorrento is about to get a locally-owned fiber-optic network. Rural telephone provider Eatel, who Lafayette readers may remember fondly as one of the businesses that used to offer cheap phone service here, is now bidding to extend its fiber-optic network to the town.
EATel, no longer known as East Ascension TELephone, is based in the parish of the same name and is bidding to extend cable and high-speed internet service to this town in its already-existing footprint.
From the Advocate story:
The Town Council has agreed to consider a proposed ordinance that, if adopted, would provide residents with a choice of cable television providers.
“Basically, it will allow Eatel to run fiber-optic lines to provide cable services. Eatel will provide a competing service to Cox (Communications),” town attorney Greg Lambert said.
That’s good news for local consumers. Sorrento is lucky that its phone provider is Eatel and not AT&T.
Eatel is doing what AT&T refuses to do—actually competing against the cable company in small rural towns. And Eatel is doing so on a level playing field, paying the town of Sorrento franchise fees to use its property equal to those Cox pays. One assumes that there is no question but that Eatel will serve the whole town; the phone company network is everywhere and city council in a small town like that would get hung if it signed anything that allowed partial service. BellSouth/AT&T realizes that local representatives feel that way—and since they would rather serve the rich guys they went to the Louisiana legislature to get a law passed that would have forbidden a town like Sorrento from demanding that a franchisee that wanted to use the public rights-of-way would have to serve both sides of the track. (Blanco vetoed the bill.)
Good for Eatel. Good for Sorrento.