Feelings appear to be mutual on the prospects of extending LUS Fiber to Broussard: Lafayette doesn’t seem interested in doing it, and Broussard doesn’t seem to want it, at least not on Lafayette’s terms.
City-Parish President Joey Durel announced Wednesday that the city-owned fiber optic Internet, telephone and television service plans to expand beyond the city limits of Lafayette for the first time since the service launched in 2009.
But Durel said fiber would be considered only for cities that agree to work with Lafayette on future annexations and only for cities deemed a “good neighbor.”
Those conditions are not favorable for Broussard, which has battled with Lafayette in court and in public on contested annexations in southern Lafayette Parish and wholesale water contracts.
Lafayette officials also said any city desiring LUS Fiber would need to pony up the costs of expanding the network, a proposal that doesn’t sit well with Broussard leaders.
“There is no way we are going to give LUS the money to extend their fiber lines in Broussard for them to profit off of our infrastructure and the business of our citizens,” Broussard Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Johnnie Foco said in a statement issued Thursday. “If they are not financially solvent enough to be able to lay down the infrastructure necessary to expand their services, then they are not prepared to grow.”
He continued: “We wouldn’t pay for infrastructure for LUS’s competitors, yet companies, such as Cox, have made the infrastructure investment because it is good for their bottom line. If LUS wants to be seen as a major player in the technology world, then they need to act like it as well.”
The plan to expand LUS Fiber into areas beyond the city limits is in the early stages.
Durel said in his State of the Parish address Wednesday that he believes there is demand for the service.
“As I have traveled this parish, one of the most common things I am asked is, ‘When will we get fiber?’ That answer depended in large part on making fiber successful in Lafayette. We’re there,” Durel told a crowd that filled the Cajundome Convention Center for his annual address.
Durel said the service likely will be offered first in Youngsville because that city has been open to an annexation agreement with Lafayette on the boundaries of future annexations.
Durel said the initial rollout would be for business customers.