Tuesday, March 2, 2010

They Should Check Out Community Coffee Too

Here's a cool story from Publicola.net about Seattle, Washington looking at our high speed fiber network for tips on implementing a similar system in their city. Huh? Isn't Microsoft up there? Glenn Fleishman wrote the article, and interviewed Lafayette's own Joey Durel about the fiber system and the hurdles he faced bringing fiber to homes and businesses here. Not surprisingly, the biggest opponents were the Cox and Bell South. In Seattle, it's Qwest and Comcast spreading the misinformation about fiber (damn you soulless, corporate gougers!). What I didn't know was Durel actually went to Cox and Bell South first to include them in the fiber project.
Over what he described as “endless meetings over coffee,” Durel courted both BellSouth and Cox to build an advanced network, telling them, “Nothing would make me happier than if you were to bring fiber to every home in Lafayette and we don’t have to do it.” Finally, though, it became clear that the incumbents were just trying to delay. “I’ve had enough coffee, thank you very much,” he said.

Durel also recognized the importance of providing fiber for all parts of the city, not just the affluent sections.
There was also the question of equity. When Verizon and other firms build out fiber to homes and neighborhoods, the companies go where they think people will pay. “Verizon has made a commitment to fiber on all new developments and into areas that will pay for them, the more affluent areas. I can understand that,” Durel said. But that’s not the goal of a city. Every home in Lafayette qualifies for this service, which isn’t subsidized. “The poorest parts of town are not going to get it any cheaper than anyone else,” Durel said, but he noted that some homes paying for television and phone service would be able to switch to the city network, add broadband, and pay the same amount or less.

Yeah, we got this right. Place that feather firmly in Joey Durel's cap.

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