On Saturday voters in Lafayette, Louisiana, overwhelmingly approved a plan for a city-owned fiber optic network.
The network, which will provide low-cost broadband connections to city residents, was opposed by phone companies and cable operators who complained of government interference in the private sector.
Lafayette’s approval of the project could help rally citizens in the 14 states where municipal networks have already been banned or limited, said Joey Durel, president of Lafayette Parish.
“What the cable and phone companies do a lot better than provide service to customers is work politicians,” he said. “Unless towns like Lafayette get moving, I’m afraid that more states could pass laws limiting these kinds of networks. If this referendum passes here in Lafayette, I think we’ll start to see some states undoing those laws.”
President Bush carried Lafayette Parish with 64 percent of the vote last November.