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.
These are the key points we want to emphasize throughout the site.
- Competition - The high cost of building a network generally prevents any true competition because one or two companies can capture enough of the market to prevent others from offering competing services. One solution is forcing network owners to share the network with competitors.
- Fiber-Optics - We are at a major turning point in telecommunications technology. Full Fiber-to-the-Home networks are now being built throughout the world, offering amazing speeds. These are the networks in which communities should invest.
- Level Playing Field - Cable and telephone companies have a history of claiming that they just want to "level the playing field" when they introduce legislation that effectively prevents publicly owned networks. The playing field already tilts in their favor.
- Public Accountability - Broadband networks are essential infrastructure. Decisions about how to run the network and who can access the networks must be made in order to serve the community first, not shareholders' desire for short-term profits.
- Success / Failures - Some have claimed that all community broadband networks are failures. This claim is wildly inaccurate. There is no easy metric to identify if a single network is a success or failure - but we can demonstrate tremendously successful community networks across a variety of measures, from take-rates to job creation to subscriber satisfaction.
- Wireless - Wireless offers great promise because the technologies have improved rapidly over the previous decade. However, wireless is not about to replace the reliability or speed of a FTTH network. What it offers is nonetheless very important, mobility.