While Cox Communications can make rate decisions in a private conference room several states away, Lafayette conducts its business in an open forum, as it should. While Cox can make repeated and periodic requests for documents under the Public Records Law, it is not subject to a corresponding obligation – a “show me your plans, but don’t dare ask to see mine” mentality. Louisiana law limits the ability of a governmental enterprise to advertise, but nothing prevents the incumbent providers from spending millions of dollars in advertising campaigns. An important focal point of the legal challenges involved the right or ability of Lafayette to pledge assets of the utilities system as security for the bonds, something that the private corporations do all of the time without the slightest scrutiny. To be sure, the “playing field is not level,” but it is the government which is disadvantaged, not the private companies.
Ellensburg Pursues Its Fiber Project in Washington
Ellensburg is quickly moving forward as it make plans to build a publicly owned fiber optic network. The City Council approved a contract with Canon Construction on December 16th, reports the Daily Record.
From the article:
Canon Construction of Milton won the contract to lay 13 miles of above- and underground fiber optic cables for the city with a $961,000 bid.
Multiple public organizations, including Central Washington University and Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue, contract with the city for cable Internet services through the city.
We recently reported on the City Council decision to establish a telecommunications utility serving municipal needs. At the December 16th meeting, they also approved an ordinance needed to move ahead with the utility.
The community network will replace the Institutional Network supplied by Charter Communications. Charter and the City have been negotiating a new franchise agreement with little success. Charter wants to charge $10,000 per month to provide the service that it previously offered at no charge beyond the incredibly valuable access to the public's right-of-way. The City determined building a network was more economical and we suspect the City will also achieve greater reliability and have access to better technology than Charter would have installed.