LPF's LUS Fiber FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Terry Huval, LUS Director, has posted his responses to many questions on the Advertiser Forum; I've tried to reorganize those here in a format that is stable and can grow as we learn more about the new network and its capacities. (Thanks to the Advertiser and Bill Decker who provided the original forum.) For a short discussion of this FAQ see the blog post "LPF's Fiber FAQ." You'll find there a short rationale and an invitation to suggest FAQ items.

The FAQ format is probably familiar to most. I've followed conventions here initially but hope to spruce up the format for better readability later.

Video Questions
What are the cable rates?
Can I have more than one TV hooked up to LUS' cable service?
Can I use my own DVR?
Internet Questions
What are the Internet rates?
Those speeds sound impressive. But do I really need all that speed?
Will Static IP Adresses be available?
Will "oversubscription" policies mean less bandwidth for users than is promised as is true of other, private, offerings?
Phone Questions
What are the phone rates?
Can I keep my current phone number?
What is considered a local call?
Policy & Generic Network Questions
Is LUS really going to offer the triple play for 20% less?
Will LUS offer its services outside the city? Please?
Will LUS offer their services individually?
Will the bundles be cheaper than buying the services individually?
How long a contract do I have to buy to get the best rate?
How expensive is installation?
How are LUS rates set?
How many subscribers per PON will LUS be deploying? 16, 32 or 64?

Video
What are the cable rates?
Short Answer: Better to get that straight from the horse's mouth: LUS Fiber page on cable costs

Can I have more than one TV hooked up to LUS' cable service?
Short Answer: Yes

"Our standard installation package will include connection to your existing cable. We likely will extend cable to your other rooms for you, but I don't know what that charge will be. We are still working on some of those policies and charges.

'If you elect to receive our Expanded Basic video service (80+ channels, including local programming - but no HD), you will not need a set top box for any of your television sets. If you choose any of our digital video packages (which begin at the next step above Expanded Basic), you would need to rent a set top box for each TV receiving that service. The set top box rentals are very reasonable."
Terry Huval: 12/31/2008 12:53 PM CST; Terry Huval Answers Questions

Can I use my own DVR?
Short Answer: Yes, probably...:-)

We are still performing testing on that issue, but it appears our system will work with a Tivo type DVR. We will confirm that point by the time we begin taking customer orders later this month.
Terry Huval 1/14/08 6:23 PM; LIVE CHAT: LUS director talks about the fiber project

Internet
What are the Internet rates?
Short Answer: Better to get that straight from the horse's mouth: LUS Fiber page on Internet costs

Those speeds sound impressive. But do I really need all that speed?
Short Answer: It's a matter of taste. But expect your tastes to change once you get a taste.

"As time goes on, these video sites will offer options for higher and higher resolution. While the videos you see on your pc today might look ok, at some point you will want to see such videos on a much bigger screen. That is where the big bandwidth can make a huge difference in your video experience.

Since upload speeds have historically been so slow, the main disadvantages to having insufficient upload speeds are upload times and frustration. I know when I have to upload a large Powerpoint file from my home to my office, it can take as much as half an hour for that file transfer to be completed - that is assuming there is no glitch in the file transfer that prematurely stops it and forces me to start all over. If you ever try to transfer large video or music files from your home, you will share in the frustration I am describing.

Since I already have 100 Mbps bandwidth in my office due to LUS's existing fiber connections, it is a whole different experience. I never have to wait for a download or an upload. Its as fast a response as changing channels on a TV or radio.

Whether or not you need 50 Mbps, or not, is up to you - but I predict you will be very pleased with even our minimum Internet service offering of 10 Mbps upload and download."
Terry Huval: 12/31/2008 1:06 PM CST; Terry Huval Answers Questions

Will Static IP Adresses be available?
Short Answer: Yes

"Yes" we will have the ability to offer a static IP address for a residential service. We will announce the monthly fee for that service once we announce the pricing for individual services in January 2009, but I think you will be very pleased with the reasonableness of the charge for this service."
Terry Huval: 12/27/2008 10:26:19 AM; LUS unveils fiber prices

Oversubscription; Will "oversubscription" policies mean less bandwidth for users than is promised as is true of other, private, offerings?
Short Answer: Practically: No; the difference between promised and practically available capacity in the LUS Network is much smaller than is the case with private providers. Technically: Difficult-to-imagine-in-practice caveats apply. See below.

"In answer to your suppositions, all retail utility and telecom systems have "oversubscription" of some sort built into their business models. If they didn't do so, costs would be prohibitive for virtually every customer. For LUS Fiber, in a worse case scenario, will have "only" 80 Mbps of Internet available to every customer, if every customer is using their full 80 Mbps at one time. The chances of that happening are very, very small. If it does, we will increase our delivery to the full 100 Mbps capabilities of our ONT. Upload speeds are going to look just like download speeds everytime a customer uses it."

"The unique advantage of an FTTH system is any possible limitations are never in the fiber lines that run all the way to the wall of the premise, but in equipment that can be easily, and cost effectively, upgraded."

Terry Huval: 12/27/2008 9:58:21 PM; LUS unveils fiber prices

And

"Even though the upstream capacity of the PON's are about half of the downstream speeds, the fact is customers upload far, far less than they download. If customer behaviors radically change because of our symmetrical service offerings, we have options to accomodate that demand (adding more PON's or otherwise reconfiguring the system). I think it will be quite sometime before we get to that point. On your other point, if you divided 2.5 gigs by 32, the result is about 80 mbps per customer. Even with the 100 mbps peer-to-peer capability, it is highly unlikely to have congestion due on this configuration. If it does, we can address that easily - honestly, that is a really "good problem" to have as it means our community is really using our system."
Terry Huval: 12/24/2008 4:08:21 PM; LUS unveils fiber prices

Will business internet accounts be given priority over homes in your system as is common in many private networks?
Short Answer Translation: No

"Business and Home Internet will have the same priority on the LUS FTTP (Fiber-to-the-Premise) system."
Terry Huval: 12/24/2008 4:08:21 PM; LUS unveils fiber prices

Phone
What are the phone rates?
Short Answer: Better to get that straight from the horse's mouth: LUS Fiber page on phone costs.

Can I keep my current phone number?
Short Answer: Yes

"The customer will have a choice of transfering his existing number to our system, or the customer can choose a new number. We expect most customers will want to keep their existing numbers and our system is set up to accomodate that."
Terry Huval: 12/31/2008 5:04 AM CST; Terry Huval Answers Questions

What is considered a local call?
Short Answer: the Lafayette area

I do not recall the local calling area on our system, but initially it is in the immediate Lafayette area (we will provide more specifics when we begin serving customers late this month). We may expand it later. We will also offer an unlimited long distance package in the continental US for an additional $15 per month.
Terry Huval 1/14/08 6:59 PM; LIVE CHAT: LUS director talks about the fiber project

Policy & Generic Network Questions

Is LUS really going to offer the triple play for 20% less?
Short Answer: Yes

The pricing objective we suggested 5 years ago is still the model we used for our pricing, which is on average 20% less than the standard prices being offered by local cable and phone providers. We always said some discounts would be greater than 20% and others would be less than 20%. When one looks at our rates at a whole, you will find we met that objective.
Terry Huval 1/14/08 6:27 PM; LIVE CHAT: LUS director talks about the fiber project

Will LUS offer its services outside the city? Please?
Short Answer: No; Sorry, maybe later

"LUS is a City of Lafayette-owned utility system and the vote for the fiber was only taken by city voters. Our business plan includes only the City of Lafayette as our service territory. The decision to expand outside the city will be one that will likely be only considered once we have first provided service to everyone in Lafayette wanting services from us."
Terry Huval: 12/25/2008 6:03:23 AM; LUS unveils fiber prices

Will LUS offer their services individually?
Short Answer: Yes

Will the bundles be cheaper than buying the services individually?
Short Answer: No

How long a contract do I have to buy to get the best rate?
Short Answer: You don't have to sign any contract.

How expensive is installation?
Short Answer: Installation is free. If you want new inside wiring run there may be a fee.

How are LUS rates set?
Short Answer: By the City-Parish Council and the Lafayette Public Utilities Authority.

"1. The City-Parish Council and the Lafayette Public Utilities Authority (LPUA) are the legal governing authorities for LUS. According to the City-Parish charter for LCG, those are the only bodies which can approve rate changes for LUS. Even then, they can only set rate levels consistent with the various limitations and requirements in our bond covenants (ie, the legal promises we make when we sell bonds)."

"2. The FTTH will make in-lieu-of-tax payments to the LCG, but the formula for setting the level of those in-lieu-of-tax payments is specified in the bond covenants. The formula could not be changed without a refund of those bonds - a highly unlikely event."
12/25/2008 6:22:08 AM; LUS unveils fiber prices

Terry Huval:12/25/2008 6:22:08 AM; LUS unveils fiber prices

How many subscribers per PON will LUS be deploying? 16, 32 or 64?
Short Answer: 32

"We will initially be deploying based on 32 subscribers per PON, but could bring that to 16 quite easily should the demand require us to do so."
Terry Huval: 12/24/2008 4:08:21 PM; LUS unveils fiber prices

Last Revision: 1/15/09