LUSFiber Financial Information Revealed
In recent weeks conflicting reports have been made over the current state of LUSFiber’s finances as well as projections of the government-run fiberoptic network’s future.
Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel along with LUS Direct of Utilities Terry Huval stopped by “Mornings with Ken and Bernie” for our weekly “Lafayette Live” segment to clear up the confusion surrounding LUSFiber’s finances.
Director of Utilities Terry Huval revealed that despite a tough start, LUSFiber is finally beginning to reflect the kind of revenue numbers promised when the fiberoptic program was first discussed nearly a decade ago.
It was tough beginning because when you spend money wiring the whole city it takes awhile to get enough customers to make everything come together financially.
Last year our revenue increased by 40% and our expenses increased by less than 7%. That’s always a good sign. – Terry Huval
Huval admitted that because of entry costs, the first five years were never expect to be profitable, but the investments made at the beginning are now staring to pay off.
The first thing is we had when we announced was $3 million in lawsuits. Second we had to buy all the channels for the system. That was a huge obstacle; something lesser communities would have crashed the concept over, but we made it through. Now we’re part of a coop that we wanted to be in from the beginning and we’ll be able to reduce costs going forward. – Terry Huval
LUSFiber is now in, as Huval termed it, “making money mode”, turning in a net profit for the first time last year and showing signs of growth moving forward.
We had enough cash after we paid back our bills and our debt service payment that we had about $1.5 million extra to go against our cumulated depreciation, and that’s going to continue to grow. In fact, in 6 months alone this year, we’re at $1.8 million, so clearly we’re moving forward with the numbers getting better and better. – Terry Huval
Better numbers moving forward is a good sign for Lafayette tax payers as profit from LUSFiber is used to keep taxes from going up.
LUSFiber’s initial success for the city of Lafayette has resulted in citizens from neighboring cities wondering if LUSFiber will ever extend to other areas of Lafayette Parish. City-Parish President Joey Durel explained that while it’s not impossible to bring LUSFiber outside of the city of Lafayette, it’s not currently in the plans for the near future.
It is a city owned utility, it is a city asset, and it was voted upon by the city of Lafayette. We have the license to expand, and we have the technology to expand, but it would require a vote, and it would require passing a tax for the town to build the basic infrastructure. The day could come, but as of right now it is a city only asset. – Joey Durel
To hear the full audio from Durel and Huval’s interview, click the play button below.