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Lafayette Vs. Bellsouth
City asks company to drop lawsuit
by Karl Bode 09:20AM Thursday Feb 10 2005
"If we had been allowed to proceed with this project from Day 1 without interference from BellSouth and Cox, we project that we would have been serving our first customers with much lower cost services by July of this year," says the director of a community fiber project in Lafayette, who has asked the companies to drop their lawsuit and move aside. "The people of Lafayette are the losers and the corporate executives of these big Atlanta-based companies are the winners as they continue to battle the citizens of Lafayette in blocking this project," he suggests.

Just one day after promising cooperation and a possible partnership, BellSouth sued to stop the city from pursuing $125 million in revenue bonds to fund a triple-play fiber network (the focus of a recent USAToday article).

topics flat nest 

Louisville, KY

Dude, WTF?

BellSouth insists it's just trying to look out for the interests of the local Lafayette taxpayers. Its argument hinges on the fact that the city-owned utility, which is building the network, is a monopoly.

"We're just saying that the local utility ratepayers should not be cross-subsidizing this new business that they want to get into," says McCloskey, the BellSouth spokesman. "They are a monopoly, and they should be regulated like one."
I just had to LOL on this...

Imagine Reality


Re: Dude, WTF?

Lafayette should apply for Federal anti-terrorist funds to fight BellSouth!

Sociopaths always win.

Tulsa, OK

Re: Dude, WTF?

actually it is Lafayette that will probably be deemed a terrorist.

It must be pretty strange to be held hostage in your own city.

King P
Don't blame me. I voted for Ron Paul
Murfreesboro, TN
It really ceases to amaze me that the gov't doesn't just tell the Telco's to "SHUT UP". Seriously, Bellsouth could make some serious bank on this. Just let the community roll out the fiber, and then lease the network access from their phone network...but then again, I guess the city could do the same to bellsouth...oh well just get the fiber out! FREE THE FIBER!!!
Forget 'em, Support the Indies.»

said by ronpin:

Lafayette should apply for Federal anti-terrorist funds to fight BellSouth!

Emporia, KS
What do you expect from a greedy corporation?

Visit Lovely Downtown Port Starboard
Silver Spring, MD
This is the new doublespeak.

The ILECs have for years turned logic on its head and complained that CLECs under the 96 Act had an unfair anti-competitive advantage under the UNE rules.

Recently FCC Chairman Powell (the biggest bell head there is) called the SBC/AT&T deal a sign of "convergence" a few weeks ago.

Whatever name you call it, I call it bullsh*t.
If I don't see you in the future, I'll see you in the pasture

Rockville, MD
·Verizon FiOS

no doubt about it

telecom policy is hosed in the U.S. and I'm not too optimistic about the 1996 Telecom bill re-write.

Telecom policy now seems to be controlled by the ILECs, with liberal use of lawsuits and compliant (ie, easily purchased or easy to fool or both) legislators.

anyone who thinks the '96 bill re-write will favor consumers, raise your hand...


Mr Gradenko

·Embarq Now Centu..

Re: no doubt about it

Telecom policy now seems to be controlled by the ILECs, with liberal use of lawsuits and compliant (ie, easily purchased or easy to fool or both) legislators.

Tort reform would appear to be a one-way street in BushWorld, huh? Stop signs for citizen class action; green lights for corporations vs citizen interest. Though I'm dubious any municipality has any interest other than private coffers in mind.

Mike "Where do I work now, Daddy?" Powell proved that skilled shills can speak out of all three sides of their mouth on such issues.
"The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose." -- Frederick Douglass

Torrance, CA

1 recommendation


As I have stated in previous posts, this isn't about monopoly, subsidising, or any of that shill rhetoric coming from the telcos etc.... it is about that they don't want to be shown for what they are.....lieing, deceitful, money grabbing whores....If the municipalities succeed.....and for a fair price, they are doing what the telcos can't or won't do for whatever reason, and getting it done.....this will make them look bad....they are the reason we are lagging far behind other countries....hell, we should be the standard...end of rant...My brothe lives in Lake Charles, and his cable sux, can we guess why.....

Big Easy

Louisiana hayride

Business as usual for arrangements between corporate entities, politicians and those adverse to change. SBC/BellSouth and COX Communication have to battle this, as any arrangement will reduce their control of the media content and communications market in the south. These companies want to get bigger not smaller.

Arabi, LA

Taxes go up and we all get cheaper svc

I say let Lafayette raise the taxes on everyone so the few can get the cheaper service. Isn't that how big government work? The cajun income redistribution program!


Atlanta, GA

Re: Taxes go up and we all get cheaper svc

Yeah, I have no doubt that the city property taxes will go up. The whole idea of government not competing is a joke. Its already been on the federal level so its no big surprise that the state and local levels want to make people believe they can do it for less AND not have consequences.

I also wonder how much of this is driven by the infrastructure-providers like Cisco, Lucent, Nortel, and others. And I would hate for someone making X as an IT professional to be displaced and wind up making 0.5X as a result.

When was the last time someone low on the civil-servent roster had a decent income? But this is ok. Lafayette can then offer welfare to help pay for that displaced workers cheap broadband.


Arlington, VA

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Re: Taxes go up and we all get cheaper svc

What you and the poster before you don't seem to realize is the simple fact that if the local government was able to build their system they could then sell that system to SBC and return the profit to the people by cutting taxes or improving other services.

But even better, the government could sell the system to a startup directly competing with SBC for your dollars.

The problem here is that the Telcos and CableCos totally object to any other company being able to get started in their territory without having to ride on their lines ..... why? Because it gives that company a fair chance to compete by building up their system and challenging the TelCos and CableCos without having to play by the TelCableCos rules. And of course that means the end of the TelCableCo regional monopoly control.


Atlanta, GA

Re: Taxes go up and we all get cheaper svc

For profit? When the heck has any government in the USA ever sold something it bought and made a profit on it? Seriously, do you think the city of Lafayette, or any other city, has more buying power than a Top 1000 corporation?

And then there is the technical aspects as well. What if your town goes with a platform completely different from what the company you wish to resell it to uses? If I had a company its going to be for profit. If its a publicly-traded company I am running, I have even more people to answer to.

And what is to keep the city commission/mayor/whatever from pocketing the money, make bad business decisions, etc.? What qualifications do they bring? What technical qualifications to they have? Sure, they can screw up and not get re-elected to office/board, but the damage is already done and everyone in that city pays for that usurped officials' mistake.

Just a couple of thoughts. Hey, I am more open (as a taxpayer) to a co-op company like my EMC electrical provider than a government entity.


Arlington, VA

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1 recommendation

Re: Taxes go up and we all get cheaper svc

So by the nature that no government has ever bought something and sold it for a profit it will never happen? This is your basis for not even trying to bring a service to the people that the TelCableCos wont provide?

No I don't think Lafayette has the money to challenge the TelCableCos, but I do think that a legal challenge by the TelCableCos would not make it through the Supreme Court.

So now your saying local governments don't have the ability or expertise to build and operate such a system? Do you even realize how much work the fedeal government itself contracts out?

What really makes me so sick about this whole issue is that not two weeks ago I saw a news piece of a small town in southern Louisiana (my home state), that just received telephone service. Here in the United States the Bells are finally rolling that damd copper to every inch of the freakin bayou and you can bet you axx its not because they want to bring these communities into the 20th century.

Truth is, they're doing it because people like me see them for what they really are and they know we are fed up with their crap and were showing them by ditching our landlines.


Batavia, IL
said by ColdFiltered:

For profit? When the heck has any government in the USA ever sold something it bought and made a profit on it?
Er..... Oh I don't know.. how bout the city of Lafeyette LA.?, as part of the Louisiana purchase. I'm pretty sure the U.S. Government got a really good deal on some land and sold of pieces of it that more than paid for the original purchase price, gave some away and kept big pieces of it.
With a recovery like this... who needs a recession? | Tri-City Broadband
Space Elf
Mullica Hill, NJ
i guess due to how our legal system works the city cant tell bellsouth where to shove their complaining and build the system reguardless? =p
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports
dont forget the TVA was a federal project because the pvt power companies wouldnt wire the rural areas citing profit.
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports

Whiting, IN

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1 recommendation


Nothing makes me madder than to see a community being told what to do by corporations. Corp america, the so-called hidden 4th branch of govt, must be stopped. If a community wants to take care of itself then let it, anything interfering with communities should be dealt with directly at the source. i.e. CEO's, board of directors, etc.

Louisville, KY

1 recommendation

Re: actions?

said by ossito16:

Nothing makes me madder than to see a community being told what to do by corporations. Corp america, the so-called hidden 4th branch of govt, must be stopped. If a community wants to take care of itself then let it, anything interfering with communities should be dealt with directly at the source. i.e. CEO's, board of directors, etc.
I agree.

For many years, communities had their own water companies, sewer companies, electric companies, etc. Did the regional power concern stop Anytown, USA from hooking up its own power grid 100 years ago? I didn't think so.

Yeah, the local company got bought out by the conglomorate, but did it not serve its purpose by rolling out service to those who needed it, but weren't getting it?

What a world we live in where any corporation can dictate its own market, even if it is above the wishes of the local people/government.


Lafayette, LA

Re: actions?

And that's the crux of the issue. If the municipality wishes to risk taxpayer money for a project (with the backing of those taxpayers), then why should someone from another city care? I would agree with many of the naysayers if this was a Federal or a State plan, but a municipality is much closer to the people it serves. It's easier to hold the city council responsible for their actions then it is for the higher levels of government.

Telecommunications is getting to the point of water, sewage, and electricity in modern times. It is not a "nice to have" as much as a "need to have" to stay afloat in these times. Roads and electricity were much the same at one point. They were "nice to have", but became "required" and needed communities to pitch in to bring those needs to everyone.

What's sad is the costs of this project is not increased by technicalities, but by *legal* costs before it can even get off the ground.

Just imagine the repercussions if this does work out.

Lake Zurich, IL

Re: Taxpayer's money???

I see people still have trouble differentiating between general issue and revenue bonds.

Revenue bonds
• Principal and interest payments for revenue bonds are secured by revenues from the project being financed. Because revenue bonds are not backed by the issuer's taxing authority they are generally considered more risky than general obligation bonds, and therefore tend to offer higher interest rates.

If the project fails, the taxpayer's do not foot the bill. Rather the investors lose their investment.

For Reference: » ··· ni.shtml


Saint Louis, MO

The end result of this whole skirmish...

Essentially, Lafayette is in a lose/lose situation:

Either let the monopolies run rampant in their city


Lose all their money in litigation/court costs trying to prevent otherwise.

Now what I see that's hilarious is a company suing a town because they decided not to be their customer.

Does this mean I can sue companies because they refuse to hire me as a PC technician and instead pay their current PC technician to do the job?

That's what this sounds like...

Anyways... once the evil financial empires drain every last cent out of Lafayette, they'll find the next upstart community trying to start their own fiber networks... and suck them dry... lather rinse repeat...

Big companies like this must be stopped... They're infecting government, shafting customers, and making it impossible for smaller companies to compete with them.

Someone set up us the bomb!


city vs telcos

Ok here is my 2 cents worth. Where I live they (local gov) had a toll road built with bonds with the hope that the toll road would pay for itself in the years to come. Guess what? The road generates about 25% of projected income that they had hoped to get from it. Now they want us to pay for the road in higher taxes. I can see the same thing happening with the fiber thing. All the fiber gets put out there and they (local gov) has no one to work on it or it doesnt sell or people just didnt want it in the first place. Not every podunk backwoods hillbilly wants high speed internet. I know I have talked to them. Then the taxpayers are left with 125 million dollar peice of glass in the ground and not worth a crap. Still no reason not to be allowed to try it though. If I was the teleco I would let them then charge them out the a&& for anything else they needed to get to the outside, if anything. I say lets just deregulate the telcos and let them play on a level field with the cable co's and any little town that chooses to do so. I think you would see that 50 yrs of telecommunication experience will prove to be far better than someone with a good idea and no money to get it going. Ok 5 cents worth.


Re: city vs telcos

To address some of the issues mentioned:

1 - Lafayette, LA is not a "podunk, backwoods, hillbilly" town. We are a city of over 110,000... yes, there are actual cities in Louisiana. It's not like we're a town of 5,000 trying to roll out a $125 million project.

2 - The goal of this municipal project, as I understand it, is NOT really to turn a huge profit. Rather, to provide good, quality service to the citizens at a marginal profit, and in this one particular case, to hopefully pull some business back into Lafayette. (For anyone that doesn't know, Lafayette used to be an oil company mecca)