June 1, 2005 12:00
Like the arguments of other opponents, my friend Larry Amy's five reasons not to support the LUS fiber plan don't stand up to scrutiny ("Backward Thinking," Indbox, May 18).

1) BellSouth is installing fiber, and that is the functional equivalent of the LUS proposal. Wrong. BellSouth says it might deploy fiber to the neighborhood here. While that would be a significant upgrade over their current network, it would not remotely resemble the capacity of fiber to the home. Claiming that fiber towards the home equals fiber to the home is like confusing Lake Arthur with Los Angeles because they have the same initials and they're both west of Lafayette.

2) Cox has the expansion capacity to offer future advanced services for many years to come. Wrong. Cox's network capacity can't deliver HDTV to every TV in every home on its network, nor can it deliver anywhere near the bandwidth capacity that LUS will be able to. I'm a Cox customer (cable, phone and Internet) and it's a red-letter day when I can achieve one-tenth of the download speeds Cox advertises.

3) Next generation wireless services will negate the need for fiber. Wrong. Wireless is great, but high traffic degrades its speed, reliability and range. Fiber infrastructure enables wireless expansion and utility ' but wireless cannot replace fiber because robust wireless runs on fiber infrastructure.

4) Lafayette businesses already have access to fiber if they choose it. Wrong. Affordable, abundant bandwidth is the key to economic competitiveness. Incumbents offer bandwidth at speeds and costs that work for them, but not for small businesses. Network speeds are slower and the costs higher here than in competing markets. The competition is not only in Baton Rouge or Shreveport, but also in Bangalore, Shanghai, Seoul and European cities.

5) Finally, Larry claims: "we already have a vibrant and changing competitive infrastructure." Tragically wrong! The phone and cable industries have spent hundreds of millions of dollars successfully lobbying and lawyering to deny competitors access to their networks. A duopoly does not constitute a vibrant and competitive environment.

The LUS fiber project is an investment in the future of this community that will better enable businesses here to compete in a global and knowledge-driven economy. The opposition's actual message is that Lafayette should lower its expectations to whatever the incumbents will offer us. Where would Lafayette be today if previous generations of leaders had adopted this slacker attitude?