The Independent blog carries a short, LUS accepts bids for fiber head-end facility, that lays out the details of the new head-end facility. Alert readers will have encountered this issue before (1, 2) but he gist is that LUS had to withdraw its original RFP for the construction of a custom headend building and substitute a call for a smaller prefab building. From the INDsider:
The total bill of approximately $957,000 is well within LUS’ $1.4 million budget for the facility. LUS recently re-bid the project as a smaller, prefabricated facility after original bids for a custom building came back more than 100 percent over budget.
It’s disappointing that we’ll not have the larger, custom building to work with…expansion and long-term durability in hurricane country are both desirable. Of course the legal climate engendered by the (un)Fair Competition Act makes keeping costs down in the initial phase imperative. (That law mandates that the network has to be continuously self-supporting even in the first years while it is working without income. That foolishness can be dealt with but tools to insure that LUS stays within a punitive law means opting for longer, larger loans—and the subsequent expense in interest—than would otherwise be prudent. Yet another way that our legislature has allowed itself to be used as a tool to stifle competition with the incumbent providers by raising the costs of runnig Lafayette’s system.)
On the other hand, it’s encouraging that the headend cost has not only been brought in line with the budget but has come in substantially cheaper so that there is now a bit more breathing room in the early cost picture as a result. All dark clouds have silver linings.