The Bad: St. Mary council demands Internet, cable service for all

Early this morning I posted the good news that a small rural carrier in northeast Louisiana was building out a fiber to the home network for its customers using stimulus money. What made it news was that a poor rural area was getting advanced connections.

Today the Advocate carries the bad news story that rural residents in St. Mary parish are complaining that they can’t get a decent internet connection—and that the council there is calling the incumbents Cox and AT&T in on the carpet saying: “If you are going to serve St. Mary Parish, you have to service all of St. Mary Parish.” It’s not news that rural folks don’t have decent broadband. What makes this news is that their local representatives are trying to do something about it.

What reading these two stories back to back makes pretty clear is that explaining the difference between the two isn’t hard. The rural areas that have little chance to get world-class connectivity are places “served” by large national carriers like Cox and AT&T. Places that do better are served by local folks, be they private or publicly owned.

That might be something for the people of St. Mary to think about. The people of Lafayette already have.