Well the big announcement has finally been made. The first areas to be served by fiber are now set. Here’s a screen capture from the interactive map on the LUS website:
Someone in that map will be the first person served with a projected date of January 2009 for the official launch of the network.
Take a good look at that map (click for a larger version or jump to the interactive map on the LUS website)—that’s an awfully large chunk of the city encompassing almost all of the traditional core neighborhoods. Just at-a-glance I’d say that it covers around half the population. Maybe more. It’s a very aggressive first stage.
“How’d they decide that?” those of you in Phases 3 and 4 may be asking. LUS says that there were a number of factors, among them:
- Huval said: “…how can we get to the most customers at the cheapest cost.” meaning densely populated regions where the utility anticipates a high take rate
- They also said they wanted a good mix of residential and businesses but preferring a higher than average percentage of residential. The rationale there is that businesses are slower to move to new services and they want a quick uptake. (Of course it also has to factor that the residents are the owners…and when the owners want service they tend to get preferential treatment.)
- Terry Huval also said that areas with aerial service (service on poles) were preferred in the initial build because it is cheaper to run services in those areas. LUS should get more bang for its buck out of those investments.
Now if you know Lafayette you can see how these points played out by looking at the map. Older, hence for the most part more densely settled neighborhoods with smaller lots are in Phase 1. Those are also the neighborhoods with aerial service. And that all makes financial sense. But it also makes political sense. There is a northern and a southern segment–and in our city that denotes, fairly or unfairly, black and white, creole and cajun/Americain, and poor and well-off. Read by Lafayette eyes it is a declaration that all will be served; none will be left out. The pattern that falls out of LUS decision making-parameters has the consequence of serving more people in the city core, and a larger percentage of the community’s most needy first. This, we should note with satisfaction, is exactly the opposite of the pattern shown by corporations like AT&T who have consistently demanded they be allowed to serve the wealthy suburbs in preference to the core community and who will not, in fact, promise to serve that population at all. Public ownership makes a real difference and a difference our community can see from day 1.
Three other things of interest: 1) pricing was briefly discussed and, contrary to the impression that the speakers gave, there was a bit more info on pricing. 2) There are already rumbles about service outside of Lafayette. Diplomatically handled by the administration….but not dismissed. 3) Durel is very big the intranet and the potential for all that enourmous peer-to-peer bandwidth to change the equasion in Lafayette. He’s right about that. But more on those points in a follow-up post.