Bonjour, Reddit! We are Lafayette City-Parish Mayor-President Joey Durel and LUS Fiber Director Terry Huval, here to answer your questions about LUS Fiber, a municipally-owned fiber-to-the-home telecommunications system in Lafayette, Louisiana.

We’re celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the public vote by our citizens, who overwhelmingly voted in support of the fiber project, making LUS Fiber a reality, and beginning a decade-long path that has fortified our local economy and reinvested in our community.

Despite city-wide residential and business support, we were not without tedious challenges from the incumbent providers. Ultimately, those fights ended up in the state Supreme Court where the judges voted unanimously in our favor, thus allowing us to build the LUS Fiber system and offer fiber optic video, Internet and phone services to Lafayette.

We have brought high-powered, next generation broadband to our city and have been recognized worldwide for our 1 Gigabit Internet as we were recently named one of the top cities for the fastest Internet in the world, according to Open Technology Institute’s report, “2014 Speed Leaders for Home Broadband.”

Proof: Twitter: Facebook:

Ask us Anything!

Edit: 3:45p- Thanks for all of the interesting questions and comments, Reddit. It was fun! Visit or our Twitter or Facebook pages for more information!

Comments: 121 • Responses: 33  • Date: 

LemonAssJuice14 karma

How do I start an initiative to do this in my town?

LUS_Fiber6 karma

Just like in any other business, you have to have leadership that sees the vision of investing in such a system. Once that is done, then the rest of the community needs to get onboard. There is a lot of work involved in preparing the business plan, doing market surveys, and all of the other details necessary to bring an initiative like this to the table. It's important that you secure experts that can help you along the way.

lottapoppa2 karma

Would you be willing to document the whole process, as a sort of tutorial, to encourage others to follow your steps?

LUS_Fiber3 karma

The requirements place upon communities wanting to build a fiber-to-the-home system differ significantly from state to state. We suggest you contact the Fiber-to-the-Home Council, which may be better positioned to provide you with more information.

sinatraswooner8 karma

Real talk: how great was that Independent cover with you two guys looking like you were on Star Trek? Because I hope you both got it framed and will hang it in perpetuity.

LUS_Fiber8 karma

We're thinking of changing our tag-line to "Live long and Prosper."

techtexx6 karma

How long before Youngsville residents can expect LUS Fiber in our area?

LUS_Fiber7 karma

We have said that we are ready to expand LUS Fiber to businesses in the surrounding cities. The criteria required is that it has to make sense financially, we have to have a good working relationship with that city, and there will need to be an annexation agreement. The model Joey has always envisioned is similar to the model where the city of Lafayette provides water to the city of Youngsville today.

YuppieYak4 karma

Hypothetically, is it possible for cities such as Youngsville, Scott, <cough> Broussard, etc to hold an election to vote for a dedicated tax or authorization of bond sale to subsidize the initial expansion of LUS services?

LUS_Fiber3 karma

There are a number of ways to pay for the infrastructure, including the straight-up business case of having enough businesses wanting to purchase the services to generate enough revenues to support such an expansion. Beyond that, a community could choose any number of mechanisms to support such an expansion, including bond sales or increases in taxes. But obviously, the city of Lafayette cannot spend money building infrastructure inside another city, just like Lafayette's provision of water to other cities.

kunstlinger6 karma

Dear Mr. Huval and Mr. Duvel,

First off allow me to express my appreciation for your foresight and hard work over the years to get this project off the ground successfully. As a network engineer by trade I am a current LUS Data subscriber and I have to say you offer a superior product compared to local competitors. I appreciate you guys fighting the good fight, especially at the beginning of the project when big telecom was against you. LUS and LCG truly paved the way in terms of a model for other cities to follow, and let's hope that they do.

Here are my questions:

  • 1) I'm buying a new house in a newly developed subdivision in Lafayette off of Congress near Guilbeau. LUS Fiber service is not offered there, I assume due to the subdivision being relatively new (one or two years old). I've unfortunately had to make the switch to Cox as an ISP. Are there plans to expand LUS fiber into areas like mine where the houses were built post initial rollout? I really hope so, because I want to upgrade to gigabit residential.

  • 2) Are there plans to offer true Gigabit to Gigabit between residential connections city wide without having to subscribe to the gigabit plan? Right now it is 100Mb between residential users.

Your website states:

All Internet service packages include: 1,000 Mbps Peer-to-Peer Community Intranet

That however is not true, since my linerate coming from my ONT is only 100Mb. My router (Ubiquiti ERLite3) facing the ONT is a gigabit interface. I'd need a different ONT for the statement on the site to be true. I've also heard that this statement only applies to business packages. In that case, the wording on the site is very confusing. I'm not saying gigabit intranet is a necessity, it's just a nice thing to have and is what seems to be advertised. Not to mention there was lots of press about Lafayette being the first city to offer gigabit between users, which seems to be only true for gigabit subscribers.

  • 3) Any plans to offer IPv6 addresses to residential subscribers?
  • 4) What measures have been taken to prevent the DNS failure that occured in the recent past?
  • 5) Google fiber is $70/month, do you have plans to adjust the price of the gigabit internet only package price of $109?
  • 6) What's in store for LUS Fiber in the next 5 to 10 years?

LUS_Fiber3 karma

1) Yes, there are plans for LUS Fiber to extend its services into new developments in the city of Lafayette. 2) We currently offer Gigabit to Gigabit Intranet to all residential and business customers with ONT port speeds of 1 Gbps. We are replacing our 100 Mbps ONTs over time and at some point will have Gigabit to Gigabit Intranet to all customers.
3) We are working on plans to offer IPv6. 4) Prior to the DNS issue, LUS Fiber had plans for the next major upgrade to deal with such issues and has put a process in place to stay ahead of cyberspace mischief. 5) At this time, LUS Fiber is offering the most competitively priced Gig service in the state. 6) Great things in store!

YuppieYak6 karma

Joey, you have less than 6 months left in office and Terry's position with LUS is an appointed position.

1) What risk does Lafayette face with new leadership taking the helm of LUSFiber and selling the infrastructure or not prioritizing future upgrades?

2) Are you seeing any candidate forums include this topic as part of their platform for questions being posed to the candidates?

LUS_Fiber6 karma

I think there is always a risk with the new administration and the people need to make sure their voices are heard concerning the future of LUS and LUS Fiber.

I have voiced the concerns of having LUS Fiber as a major part of discussions with our Chamber of Commerce for future forums. - Joey Durel

tadmanflash5 karma

Will we see wifi for areas like the Oil Center or downtown for paying customers?

LUS_Fiber4 karma

LUS Fiber has already deployed WiFi in a few areas downtown and has plans to expand WiFi coverage into areas such as the ones that you've mentioned.

tadmanflash3 karma

Is wifi downtown on a permanent basis or just deployed for special events like Festival Internationale?

LUS_Fiber3 karma

For now, they are only being used for special events. However, LUS Fiber has plans to provide WiFi service on a more permanent basis in selected areas.

grumpyolddude5 karma

The Lafayette Parish School Board recently entertained bids from a number of competitors and ultimately switched from LUS to another provider. Do these competing organizations all have the same fiber infrastructure in the area or do they lease capacity from LUS? Can LUS compete against these other providers successfully?

LUS_Fiber7 karma

At this time, no other entity is leasing services from LUS Fiber to serve the Lafayette Parish School System. While we do not know the scope of services that can be offered by these competing organizations, we suspect that they will not offer the breadth and scope of services that LUS Fiber can offer.

d0pey5 karma

Are there any plans of implementing Fiber in apartment complexes around town?

LUS_Fiber7 karma

Since apartment complexes are owned by individual citizens or corporations, service to those facilities requires their cooperation. If the apartment complex owner or manager wishes to discuss having LUS Fiber infrastructure in its complex, they just have to contact us.

BluePoints4 karma

When the proposal was made in 2004 it was pushed as a mechanism that would drive in funds, pay off its original bonds and loans and be a generator for the LCG...where are we with these today how much was borrowed, how much is owed and how much has it contributed in the last 10 years?

LUS_Fiber2 karma

Even though the system only began serving customers in 2009 (less than six years), it has already generated over 1.5 million dollars in franchise fee payments to the city of Lafayette general fund, it has already paid over 5 million dollars in loan payments to LUS, and it has paid an additional 2.4 million dollars to LUS in imputed tax payments. In total, LUS Fiber has already made almost 9 million dollars in payments to LUS and to the City of Lafayette general fund. The voters authorized up to $125 million in bonds for this project. The debt service on these bonds is for a period of 25 years and LUS Fiber has made 100% of its principal and interest payments on these bonds each year.

BluePoints2 karma

Has LUS had to borrow or defer any additional funds in that same time Frame(meaning have they borrowed any additional funds or made any arrangements with LUS on Payments or Loans?

LUS_Fiber3 karma

Just like any homeowner would take advantage of interest market conditions to reduce their monthly payments, LUS Fiber has also taken advantage of such opportunities. As a result of our prudent practices, Standard & Poor's has recently upgraded LUS Fiber's bond rating to A+.

loalz4 karma

Do you think this business model will become commonplace in large cities? If so, how long would you expect for other cities to start getting the ball rolling?

LUS_Fiber3 karma

Over 20 states have placed significant impediments to prevent local governments from providing this type of service. The FCC has become more aggressive in recent times to try to remove these impediments. Our model is very entrepreneurial and did not rely on any government grants or taxes. Our model, while difficult, is the most likely model going forward, but each community will have to make decisions based on their unique situation.

kyle64774 karma

Hello there! Lafayette citizen here.

Can you discuss the impact that you expect the recent Net Neutrality policy changes to have on LUSFiber's services and pricing going forward?

Also, do you ever forsee a period in the future where competitors such as Cox can't force exclusivity on apartment complexes in exchange for kickbacks? These really hurt the market for residential telecom services.

LUS_Fiber3 karma

Because of the superior bandwidth of our system, we have always been Net Neutral.

While there are some rules against exclusivity, they appear to be very hard to enforce.

YuppieYak3 karma

This is from 5 years ago. Does LUS still have bandwidth caps in place?

LUS_Fiber2 karma

For the protection of our system and our customers, we need to include bitcaps in our standards of service. However, we have had minimal abuse of the substantial bandwidth available to our customers.

YuppieYak4 karma

The position paper of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce (Now One Acadiana) endorsed LUS moving forward with the build out of LUSFiber for FTTH because of the absence of private industry willing to make the investment at such time. It went on to state that LUS should pursue partnerships with private entities and help address digital divide issues.

1) What programs does LUS have in place to address digital divide issues? I know Cox Communications is very aggressive in providing resources (bandwidth and computer labs) to entities such as Boys and Clubs, but haven't seen any such action by LUSFiber.

2) What actions, if any, has LUSFiber taken to partner with private entity to provide services or help LUS manage services?

3) With the prominence of cloud computing (Software as a Service / Infrastructure as a Service) being aggressively adopted by businesses, has LUS pursued any direct connections to Google, Microsoft, or Amazon Web Services data centers to help local customers have reduced latency and higher QoS on long-haul transfers? EXAMPLE:

LUS_Fiber5 karma

The Louisiana law entitled "The Local Government Fair Competition Act" prohibits LUS Fiber from providing services below its costs. In order to extend our reach to lower-income customers, LUS Fiber implemented a low entry-level Internet tier contingent on the customer also buying either video or phone services. Recently, the FCC has supported a plan that would provide a need-based subsidy to low-income customers for Internet service. LUS Fiber has already made inquiries into becoming part of that program. One substantial benefit of LUS Fiber entering the Lafayette market is that its competitors kept their rates lower in Lafayette as compared to their other markets. As a result, every citizen and business customer has benefitted from the increased competition.

SLCCthrowaway14 karma

South Louisiana Community College student here with a few questions.

What was the initiative the led to LUS's fiber network being created? What was the timeline/history of its infrastructure development?

What are some continuing issues with further advancement?

What sort of positions do you hire for? What skillsets and experience are most relevant to your daily operation?

What's the data throughput between Lafayette and Baton Rouge? A classmate and I have been trying to figure out how many DVDs would you would need to put in the back of a truck to match that bandwidth.

LUS_Fiber6 karma

Much like electricity sparked Lafayette's economic growth in 1896, city leaders believed that a fiber-to-the-premise system would have similar economic development benefits for Lafayette in the future.

Timeline: Initial fiber construction in the late 1990's for internal city use. In 2004, after Mayor Durel's election, the city began looking into a fiber-to-the-premise to offer Internet, cable tv, and telephone services. After state legislation and multiple lawsuits, a public vote was held on July 16, 2005 that resulted in 62% support. The system served its first customers in 2009 and currently has over a third of the market today.

The continuing issues include politics, increasing market share and studying business models for expansion outside the city of Lafayette.

As for the data throughout, based on Lafayette's technology and traffic-flow, the data can get out of Lafayette much faster than it can get into Baton Rouge.

watercolorhorse4 karma

After 1 Gigabit, what's the next fastest speed on the horizon for consumers and when do you expect it to be available to your customers?

LUS_Fiber6 karma

Because LUS Fiber built its system using fiber-to-the-premise technology, the future speeds of its system are limitless. As things stand today, LUS Fiber is one of a handful of entities in the world that can provide low-cost 1 Gig service to the home. As time goes on, LUS Fiber will be in a similar position to offer faster speeds than most companies in the world.

_coast_of_maine3 karma

What was your background to allow you to take on such a large project? With what you've learned what would you do differently if starting fresh? (thanks & congrats)

LUS_Fiber4 karma

The most significant asset Lafayette had in its favor was its electric utility system, which has been in operation since 1897. By virtue of operating such a system, LUS had the necessary skill set to be able to engineer, build and operate the telecommunications system. In consideration of all the unexpected lawsuits and other artificial obstacles that were thrown at us, we cannot think of anything we would have done differently.

tpeiyn3 karma

I understand that LUS is not willing to extend fiber to the municipalities unless they agree to cover costs, which seems perfectly reasonable to me. Is LUS currently in negotiations with any of the smaller municipalities to do so?

LUS_Fiber2 karma

There have been some discussions with some of those municipalities, but you would have to ask the elected officials in those municipalities about that.

anahuac-a-mole3 karma

Howdy Mr. Durel and Mr. Huval,

First a few questions for Mr. Durel:

  • How has running a small business helped in running a government?

  • What City/Cities would you like to see added as sister cities to Lafayette?

  • With an unlimited budget, what one improvement would you like to see implemented in Lafayette?

Second for Mr. Huval:

  • In your mind who was the better engineer, Tesla or Edison?

  • Can you describe the process of budgeting and implementing such a large infrastructure project? What are some of the unforeseen consequences that your department was faced with?

and third for both:

  • Who do you admire and why?

  • What toppings make the best pizza?

Thank you both for taking the time out of your busy day to provide the Reddit users a glimpse into the inner workings of Lafayette.

LUS_Fiber4 karma

Running a small business has been extremely helpful because its all about customer service, efficient use of money, and the accountability. With an unlimited budget, I'd like to see road infrastructure improvements. - Joey

To answer who was the better engineer is dependent on one's perspective. If one sees the better engineer as the person who made financial success our of his engineering feats, then the answer is Edison. If one looks purely at the engineering talent, then Tesla would be the better of the two. - Terry

Terry and Joey belong to a mutual admiration society.

MichaelDVincent3 karma

Bonjour Gentlemen, It was nice seeing LUS at the Horse Farm during the LUS Fiber 10th anniversary of the vote/ Bastille Day celebration. Would you like to come to a Alliance Francaise board meeting? Maybe we can work together on the next LUS Fiber/Bastille Day.

1) What do you have planned for the next 10 years to attract more Tech companies?

LUS_Fiber3 karma

Our plan is to stay ahead of the curve and work with our economic development partners to bring in new industry.

Chamrox3 karma

With all of the recent backlash about government spying on its citizens, what sorts of checks are in place to ensure customer privacy?

Also, does any member of city-parish government have the authority to give free internet/tv as sort of a political bargaining chip?

LUS_Fiber5 karma

LUS and LUS Fiber have a long tradition of following all applicable laws and respecting customer confidentiality.

Our commitments to our bond holders prohibit us from providing free services to anyone.

tec20303 karma

What do you think of the current cover of The Independent?

LUS_Fiber6 karma

I think it's out of this world, but all this technology and they still can't add hair...

morningtrain2 karma

When can we get this in ascension or ebr?

Serious question, are their plans to extend this arrangement or help other parishes do this?

LUS_Fiber4 karma

This would be a question to ask your local government officials.

YuppieYak3 karma

Are there a handful of small consulting practices which work with community advocates and local government officials to become better educated and arrange a strategy?

LUS_Fiber1 karma

We are not aware of all of the entities which could support a community effort to build such a system, but one could contact the Fiber-to-the-Home Council to make such an inquiry.

regionalconsumer2 karma

Hey, Mr. Mayor. Your loyal subject and big fan of LUS. Great, forward-thinking addition to our fair city. So, two questions:

  1. When do you think we can expect an equally forward-thinking move by the LCG to put forward an infrastructure specific tax to try to do something about our wholly insufficient roads?; and

  2. How often do you update my favorite twitter account?

LUS_Fiber2 karma

1) In 2006, we offered the most dedicated infrastructure tax in the history of Lafayette, where monies would be dedicated and spent where they were raised. For example, any taxes raised in the unincorporated area, would have been spent in the unincorporated area. Any taxes raised in Lafayette or any other surrounding cities, would have been spent only in that city. The next opportunity will be decided on by a future council and administration.

2) Every chance I get.

JohnAStJ2 karma

There has been some recent mention—in the Independent article in particular, about a plan to expand WiFi.

What is the "order of march" on that plan?

Is the end-point city-wide wifi or something less than that in your conception?

WiFi enabled phones are becoming more widely popular and a cheap standalone wifi package in conjunction with such phones would benefit the segments of the community that depend disproportionately on cell phones for internet. What do you think about serving the community in this way?

LUS_Fiber1 karma

As we indicated to The Independent, deployment of WiFi will be done on a measured basis so that we can ensure that there are sufficient related revenues to support such an initiative.

dsf1902 karma

What does the future look like in terms of bandwith? Will we see 10 Gbps connections for residential addresses any time soon?

Thank you so much for what you do! I am glad to be able to have 1 Gbps at my house for such a low monthly cost, especially in an area that Google Fiber does not cater to.

LUS_Fiber1 karma

It is technically possible for us to provide that type of service, and we will, at the time there is adequate demand for it.

redog1 karma

Who is LUS' service provider?

LUS_Fiber2 karma

For redundancy and capacity purposes, we use multiple providers.

stonecrabsteveaustin1 karma

Why has the LUS Telecommunications budget increased from $318,600 in 2007-2008 to $3,485,636 in 2014-2015?

How much (EXACTLY) is LUS paying LUS Fiber for services each year? Shouldn't these costs be going down?

Page 429 of the PDF, 411 of the document:

Page 302 of the PDF, 270 of the document:

LUS_Fiber4 karma

The overall LUS telecommunications budget includes phones, internal networks, as well as using telecom for its overall system. LUS built the initial fiber system to help it more cost-effectively maintain electric service to its customers. Since that time, new technologies have made it possible to read meters remotely, to provide additional controls to its system, and to be able to provide more reliable service to its customers. As a result, LUS Electric has the most reliable electric service in the state of Louisiana year in and year out. Our customers tell us often that reliability of electric service is critical to their homes and businesses.

stonecrabsteveaustin-2 karma

Kudos to your PR/marketing team for that response, but let's focus on the questions.

How much is LUS paying LUS Fiber each year for its services?

Why are these advances in technology increasing costs when they should be decreasing? That's the whole point of technology.

LUS_Fiber3 karma

Last year LUS paid LUS Fiber approximately $2.5 million for services. In response to your second question, LUS is using more technology to operate its utility system as compared to ten years ago. Just like today's mobile phone user pays substantially more for their services today as compared to the lesser level of services they were receiving a decade ago, LUS is buying more services because technology has advanced to allow it to provide better services to its customers. Many other electric utility companies are doing the same thing. So, your question is not an apples to apples comparison. Hope this helps clarify.