June 29, 2005 · Lessig
There’s a fascinating and important battle going on in Lafayette, LA. Citizens are pushing a referendum to permit the Lafayette Utility System to sell bonds to fund a project to “expand its existing fiber-optic network in Lafayette to everyone in the city.” The move is being fought by the telcos — who would rather bring much more expensive DSL and cable to everyone in the city. John St. Julien and Mike Stagg have been blogging the fight. There’s a great website explaining it. And today they’ve announced the winners in the “Fiber Film Festival,” a film contest run to explain the benefits of fiber.
The theorists, of course, who live life in theory-land, object. In theory-land, all this stuff should be provided by the market. In theory-land, the government should stay away. And I’m quite sure, in theory-land, there’s lots of cheap, fast broadband available to everyone. Yet most of us don’t live in theory-land. And some of those unlucky real world people living in Lafayette have a good shot at getting something that the rest of us real world sorts only dream about — cheap, fast broadband access.
Good luck with the referendum, Lafayette. Your example might well bring the rest of us down from the clouds of theory-land.