I would like to propose an alternate plan for the fiber initiative in Lafayette. For discussion purposes I'll call it FUEL (Fiber Up Every Lane). The plan is very simple. LUS will run fiber up every public street and alley served by LUS at a cost of $50 million (per Mr. Durel's annual address). LUS then leases the fiber to private businesses. Any and all revenues collected from the leasing of these lines will go toward debt reduction and LUS's current fiber operations.

The FUEL plan costs less and creates economic opportunity for more people. It creates competition and excitement and sets us apart from other communities. It also enhances future wireless capability.

The FUEL plan does not expand government or put government in competition with private business. And it doesn't contradict the principles of free enterprise.

Assume Joey's numbers are correct and that we can run fiber up every street for $50 million. Assume a worst-case scenario that no one leases the fiber line, and no one leases the tops of utility poles for wireless applications. If the customers of LUS have to amortize all of the $50 million at 6 percent interest for 20 years, then the monthly price tag to future-proof our community would be $8 a month to every LUS customer.

Proponents of the current LUS plan will surely point out that the FUEL plan causes local government to lose control of the quality and content of the information we receive. I believe that competitive forces in the marketplace will solve any quality and content issues that may arise.

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