May 26, 2015 05:33 PM

In need of a heavy dose of fiber, the Boston Globe’s Dante Ramos visited Lafayette recently and liked the "tech-forward sheen" he saw.

Writes Ramos:
People in Boston think of their city as a major tech hub. But to see a dynamic broadband Internet market in action, you’re better off heading to Cajun country.

For Lafayette, a city of 120,000 in Southwest Louisiana, building a municipal-owned fiber-optic-to-the-home broadband network hasn’t just pressured the local cable company to upgrade its own Internet service. The municipal network, which took on its first residential customers in 2009 and now offers 1-gigabit-per-second service for as little as $70 a month, has also given the city a tech-forward sheen. If not for the fiber initiative, Mayor Joey Durel asked as we sat in his office Monday, “would you have been here for anything besides boudin or crawfish etouffee?”

In an ideal world, local government agencies would never feel a need to get into the Internet business. But in most of the country, including vast areas of Boston, residents have at most one choice for service that meets the Federal Communications Commission’s current definition of broadband; usually the provider is whichever company owns the decades-old local cable monopoly.

When communities aren’t being served — or, as in Lafayette’s case, they want better service than they’re getting — why should they wait for Comcast Corp., Cox Communications, or other broadband giants to come to their rescue?
Read the full column here.

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