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This is an old story, and I'm sad we missed it. Lafayette, Louisiana is trying to install and maintain their own fiber-optic network to service their town of 160,000 people. BellSouth, it seems, believes this is wrong. In a claim similar to the old "non-standard telephones will destroy the network" which led to years of clunky Bell telephones rented like cable boxes, BellSouth is quietly shutting down the Lafayette project and other projects like it.

The ailing landline networks are feeling the cellular pinch and, in a very telling paragraph, we learn:

The regional Bell companies have made much of their billion-dollar plans to run broadband networks across the USA. Yet they're also quietly trying to erect hurdles that would make it hard or expensive for anyone to compete with them.

Besides municipalities like Lafayette, the Bells are going after their phone rivals, Internet carriers and major metro areas anyone with an interest in building services that might compete with the Bells.

Thanks to companies like BellSouth, we pay $59 a month for 4 Mbps while Japan gets 30 Mbps in boxes of breakfast cereal. Ultimately, I'd like to see free-to-low cost wireless networks sprout up to take the place of fiber and other landlines.

Bells dig in to dominate high-speed Internet realm [USAToday via TheInquirer]