JoDu, Hub City get props at Google's DC gathering

by Walter Pierce

Lafayette joined a select group for a one-day congress on Internet connectivity. Lafayette was the toast of the town(s) Wednesday in Washington, D.C., as officials representing the Hub City joined a select group of tech- and government officials for a one-day congress on Internet connectivity. City-Parish President Joey Durel, LUS Director Terry Huval and City-Parish Councilman Don Bertrand were among the coterie at Google's D.C. office for a summit on broadband access sponsored by The Paley Center for Media and The Ford Foundation. The meeting's aim was to discuss means of making high-speed access to the World Wide Web serve the public interest.

The event came just two weeks after Durel trumpeted LUS' fiber-to-the-premise initiative before a larger, less exclusive broadband summit in our nation's capital sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission and the Knight Foundation.

"What made this one more exciting," Durel said via telephone from his hotel room Wednesday night, "was this was a table with about 20 of us a small, small gathering of people, and the only other municipalities that were even represented there was the [chief information officer] of San Francisco."

According to Durel, Lafayette's vanguard initiative through our public utility to connect the city through a high-speed fiber network is on the radar of larger, more cosmopolitan communities around the country. "They're begging for it; they want it," the second-term chief executive gushed. "We were the envy of the crowd there today. It's pretty neat."