The city of Lafayette, Louisiana, has built a fiber-to-the-home municipal network. Four years ago, voters approved $125 million in bonds to fund the project (by a 62-38 margin!). BellSouth tried to kill the projectunfair competition! they cried… more proof that big companies can’t stand competition and know government is actually pretty good at providing services. Lafayette kept fighting and ultimately proved its case in the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Why is this cool? Now every house in a city a bit smaller than Sioux Falls (but with a larger surrounding metro area) is part of what is basically a citywide intranet. For $28.95 a month, residents can get a fast connection: 10 megabits per second to the Internet. Communications within Lafayette are beamed at 100 megabits per second. That’s at least a hundred times what I get on a regular basis from Sioux Valley Wireless, not to mention what folks in Lafayette can get for the basic plan from their local Verizon provider. Zoom zoom!

So what good will this network do for the metro heart of Cajun country? Supporters say public sector investments like this are at the core of the economic growth that took place in places like Silicon Valley and Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. The city now has the best network technology to support education innovations that everyone in Lafayette can access. The network is controlled by local government instead of a big international media corporation, offering more accountability.

The Internet is like water and electricity: it is fundamental to top-performing businesses, educational systems, and communities. The benefits of broadband are too great to wait for some corporation to decide that your community has enough profit potential to bother laying cable. If telecoms don’t want to provide this kind of service at affordable prices, they should get out of the way and let the forward-thinking Lafayettes of our country lead the charge.

Read more:

  • Official site: LUS Fiber
  • Local boosters of the project have a blog where they tell all about the network. Yum!