updated 12:05 pm EST, Wed December 24, 2008
Lafayette 50Mbps Fiber
Lafayette, Louisiana yesterday revealed that it will soon become one of the first significant US cities to deploy a municipality-run fiber optic Internet connection. Lafayette Utilities System plans to launch the service with a combination of Internet, phone and TV services and will offer them either as part of bundles or as individual options. Internet service tops out as high as 50Mbps both downstream and upstream and will offer more bandwidth still for connections between users on the same network, doubling to 100Mbps.
Early service is expected to start next month and will see a basic 10Mbps symmetric Internet connection cost $29 per month; 30Mbps will cost $45 per month, while the top-end 50Mbps plan will cost $58 per month. Bundles, known as VIP deals, range from a starter $85 deal that includes 80 TV channels, 10Mbps data and phone service to a $200 Gold package that carries 250 regular stations, HD and premium stations, 50Mbps Internet access and unlimited long distance phone calling.
The rollout takes place over four major stages and should be completed by 2011, the utility firm says.
Lafayette's fiber comes despite significant opposition to the deal and others like it in the US from cable and DSL providers Cox and AT&T, both of whom have publicly objected and are believed to have quietly funded private lawsuits attempting to thwart the plan for city-wide fiber.
Much of the resistance is believed to come from fears of competition, as the Lafayette Utility System is estimated to cost about 20 percent less per month than the strictly private alternatives but is also as fast as otherwise very expensive services such as Comcast's DOCSIS 3 and Verizon's FIOS, both of which cost at least $140 per month for 50Mbps Internet service alone. [via BBR]