Overbuild Gets Early OK in La.


The city-parish council in Lafayette, La., has moved to the next step in its approval of a telecommunications overbuild by its local utility.

The council accepted the report on the proposal and introduced ordinances to enable the creation of a department to run the telecommunications operation and to declare it economically feasible.

It has moved to the public-hearing phase, the second of which will be held the week of Nov. 15.

The overbuild, by Lafayette Utilities System, will cost an estimated $111 million in municipal bonds to bring fiber to the home. Supporters said the project is needed to provide a triple-play bundle underpricing that of the two local incumbents, Cox Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp.

The incumbents both announced that they have their own triple-play plans.

Late in October, local Cox officials told parish leaders the cable company should introduce telephony beginning this month.

And following a decision by the Federal Communications Commission exempting incumbent telephone companies from sharing their networks with other telcos, BellSouth announced that it, too, will soon offer a bundle of products in Lafayette.

Supporters of the municipal network noted that both projects will be fiber-to-the-curb, adding that the new build will have more capacity and flexibility because it will not have coaxial cable or copper as a component in its proposed network.

The overbuild is not subject to a public vote, but it can be approved by a majority vote of the city-parish council.