Q & A
Who are we?
"We" are a loose coalition of folks who support LUS' visionary proposal to bring fiber to the homes and businesses of Lafayette. Some of us are actively working on this website and our names appear below. Others support or contribute to this effort and their work will also be appearing on these pages. For us, "we" includes all who support this goal.
We seek to broaden our base of active supporters of this site and ask all to join us. We are particularly seeking the input of those with hopes and dreams of what could be done with the tremendous possibilities of a universal fiber optic network in the Lafayette community. If your vision is of business, civic, educational, cultural, or any other hoped-for use, please get in touch. The discussion of, and decision about, what we want to do with such a network once it is locally controlled, cheaply available, and universally distributed is the real work of the moment and we'd like to hear from you.
John St. Julien: (John@lafayetteprofiber.com)
- Well, who I am is pretty complicated. But what brings me to this issue and my position in favor of fiber is a little less complicated. I am a citizen of Lafayette, living in north Lafayette, with deep roots in the parish; the St. Juliens have a long history in Broussard and I spent a lot of time at Bon Mama's house growing up. My two children and six grandchildren all ended up here and so it was a foregone conclusion that my wife, Layne, and I would live here as well. So I care about Lafayette and its people for the most basic of all reasons: family. As to fiber and technology, in one of my former lives I was a student and then a teacher of education working first at LSU and then at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and finally at the University of Delaware. Throughout that time, part of my work was devoted to networking, designing educational applications, and trying to understand how we could integrate those amazing tools into the social life of schools and after-school facilities. So I believe in, quite passionately, the educational potential of the new technologies. I am convinced that a major impediment to implementing many promising educational innovations is the lack of universal, inexpensive broadband. No one is willing to fund innovation that benefits only those who already have. If LUS changes that here, any good grant writer should be able to open floodgates of educational innovation willingly funded by idealistic agencies. I want that for my grandchildren, and for all our grandchildren. Closely related to my educational passions, I am convinced that digital divide issues—the growing divide between those who have access to modern information technology and those who do not—should not be allowed to grow. It's a difficult problem and the LUS plan addresses this more directly than any other I know of. Finally, and least confidently, I suspect that having a different, more advanced media infrastructure will help Acadiana maintain the cultural differences I came home for. Local control is essential; nationally controlled media will surely continue to have a corrosive effect.
- Mike Stagg (Mike@lafayetteprofiber.com)
- I'm a native of Eunice, in St. Landry Parish, now a resident of Lafayette. For the past eight years or so, I've been learning about the power of information technology to change people, institutions and communities, and working to unleash that power in Louisiana. I've had a particular interest in the power of networks and have proven that power to myself through the use the Internet, the world wide web, email and list serves to educate myself about issues, connect with others of like minds, and motivate others to unite to take action on issues in ways that just would not have been possible without those tools. Since the first of the new wave of network builders began crossing Louisiana in the late 1990s with their new fiber optic strands — Rivers of Light — I have believed that Louisiana has had the potential to use information technology to transform our economy and our state by taking advantage of the new capacity in those networks. I performed the first analysis of the potential of the fiber assets that the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development got in deals it negotiated with network builders for access to rights of way along Interstate highways. In that report, paid for by the Division of Administration in 2001, I outlined some of the potential those fiber and network assets that are now nearing reality in the form of the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI). As a member of two task forces of the Louisiana Economic Development Council, I worked with others to advance the ideas of using that fiber as a platform upon which we could increase the research capacity of our universities. I have also championed the idea of using network technology to transform healthcare in our state. In the five-plus years that my family and I have been back in Lafayette, I have worked with Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA), Zydetech and others to turn Lafayette's technological potential into a new economic reality. I believe we have unique strengths and qualities in our community which, if we can bring them to the fore, can form the basis of a strong and viable economy that produces the kind of opportunities that will enable our children and the best and brightest from our region to find rewarding lives here. Having studied the histories of those communities whose economies have come to be recognized as worthy of emulating — Silicon Valley, Austin, Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, even Route 28 in the Boston area — it is clear that the foundation of these economies was built upon public sector investments. The LUS fiber to the premises initiative represents the kind of large scale public investment thas holds similar potential to transform our area. That's why I support it.