LaFayette, La., takes broadband to the air

After three years and $1.5 million in legal fees, the city-owned utility company in LaFayette, Louisana, won the right to build an FTTH network for its residents. Now it’s expanding the network to go wireless.After 18 months and $1.5 million in legal fees, the city of LaFayette won the right to build an FTTH network for its residents. Now it’s forging ahead to add wireless service.

The Lafayette Utilities System, the city-owned utility, will install the equipment and deploy and operate the network. Tropos Networks and CSG Networks will provide the equipment and software.

The system is designed to increase the efficiency of mobile utility workers, reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction with city services such as electric, water, sewer and telecommunications.

The network, which will eventually cover 49 square miles, will be built in phases. Initially, the network will enable workers to send and receive documents from the field, including building designs, city maps and Geographic Information System (GIS) layouts of power and water routing, manholes, light poles and electric meters.

LUS Director Terry Huval said additional applications, such as public safety applications and video surveillance, would likely be added at a later date.

LUS won the right to build its network in February when the Louisiana State Supreme Court ruled in its favor following a three-year legal battle with BellSouth and Cox Communications.