FAQ

Current Customers & Service Areas

What will happen to the current UC2B customer’s services?

iTV-3 will take over support for UC2B’s existing customers and will maintain the current services and rates for the duration of each customer’s contract.

Will households and businesses in the existing UC2B service areas that do not currently have UC2B service be able to subscribe to iTV-3’s services?

Yes, the full suite of iTV-3 services will be available to households and businesses in the current service areas, whether or not they are currently UC2B customers.

Will existing UC2B customers be able to switch to one of the iTV-3 service packages?

Yes, existing UC2B customers may switch to any of the iTV-3 service packages at any time with no penalty.

What will happen to the money already pledged to attract a private partner?

We hope that you will be as excited about this partnership as we are at both UC2B and iTV-3, and if you pledged money toward expansion, you have a couple of options on how to proceed from here. You should receive an email or a letter soon in addition to the information below.

The money that you pledged is still safely in an account at Busey Bank, and if you’d like, you can leave your money exactly as it is. This expansion pledge will count as a sign-up for your neighborhood, and will bring you and your neighbors one home closer to reaching the 50% threshold required for iTV-3 to begin construction there. The money that you put in is still your money, and will be put toward your bill. By keeping your money pledged you will also get priority for installation once your neighborhood is constructed.

Your second option is to receive a refund of the money you pledged toward expansion. Although we truly hope you will continue to support us and keep your expansion pledge as it is, we understand if you would like your money back, and we are happy to process a refund. We do ask that you allow 7-15 business days for us to process this request. It is important to note that upon refund you will not be counted towards your neighborhood threshold unless you sign up at http://www.ThePerfectUpgrade.com.

For questions, we encourage you to visit uc2b.net and ThePerfectUpgrade.com for more information. You can also email us at expansion@uc2b.net, or give us a call at (217)366-8222. Again, we sincerely appreciate your support, and we look forward to having the opportunity to serve you through our partnership with iTV-3.

How do I pay my bill now?

As a current customer, the address where you send payment has changed. You may now remit payment to:

iTV-3
1022 East Adams St
Springfield, IL 62703

You may be wondering why the payment address is in Springfield when your service is in Champaign-Urbana or Savoy. As we have mentioned, iTV-3 is an Illinois-based company, and a sister company to Family Video. When the Hoogland family started Family Video several decades ago, their headquarters was in Springfield, Illinois. As of today, the headquarters for Family Video is in Glenview, Illinois and the headquarters for iTV-3 is in East Peoria, Illinois. Accounting is still performed through the Springfield, Illinois location.

In the very near future, you will also be able to sign up for automatic bill pay using your credit or debit card, or your checking account.

If I purchase services today from Champaign Telephone, Pavlov Media, Volo Broadband or some other local service provider, will I be able to receive those services over a fiber connection from iTV-3?

Yes, in keeping with Champaign and Urbana’s Community Broadband Principles, iTV-3 has agreed to provide wholesale services to other service providers. Service providers who already lease UC2B fiber in order to deliver their services can continue to do so. This agreement with iTV-3 does not change those existing leases. Should you desire to do so, you could purchase Internet service from one provider, television service from a second provider and telephone service from a third provider – all over one iTV-3 fiber connection and one ONT supplied and operated by iTV-3.

iTV-3 Services

What services will iTV-3 offer?

Initially, iTV-3 will offer Internet and telephone – either independently of each other or in bundles. iTV-3 has committed to offering a gigabit Internet service as the top tier of its residential Internet services.

Below is the list of services available in Champaign and Urbana

50/10Mbps Internet: $49.95
50/10Mbps Internet + Unlimited US and Canada Voice: $64.90
100/20 Mbps Internet: $59.95
100/20 Mbps Internet + Unlimited US and Canada Voice: $74.90
1000/200 Mbps Interne: $79.95
1000/200 Mbps Internet + Unlimited US and Canada Voice: $94.90

What contracts does iTV-3 require for residential customers?

iTV-3 does not require contracts for residential customers. They believe they should earn your business every day and if they do not, you should not be penalized for dropping their service.

What contracts does iTV-3 require for business customers?

Business installations can often be more complex and costly that residential installations, so in some cases iTV-3 will require a business to commit for a certain length of time to allow iTV-3 to recover its investment in the installation.

Can I get TV service from iTV-3?

iTV-3 is initially signing residents up for Internet and Voice packages only but does plan on having a video offering in the community. Before iTV-3 can offer video we must first obtain a Television Franchise Agreement with both Cities. Please indicate if you are interested in TV service while signing up but please do sign up. iTV-3 can also help you to better understand your options of receiving TV entertainment through your Internet connection and in most cases save you quite a bit of money in the process. Please ask your iTV-3 representative to explain how you can “ditch” cable.

If I purchase services today from Champaign Telephone, Pavlov Media, Volo Broadband or some other local service provider, will I be able to receive those services over a fiber connection from iTV-3?

Yes, in keeping with Champaign and Urbana’s Community Broadband Principles, iTV-3 has agreed to provide wholesale services to other service providers. Service providers who already lease UC2B fiber in order to deliver their services can continue to do so. This agreement with iTV-3 does not change those existing leases. Should you desire to do so, you could purchase Internet service from one provider, television service from a second provider and telephone service from a third provider – all over one iTV-3 fiber connection and one ONT supplied and operated by iTV-3.

Will I be able to receive AT&T or Comcast services over a fiber connection from iTV-3?

Like all the ISPs in Champaign and Urbana, AT&T and Comcast can take advantage of iTV-3’s commitment to offer wholesale services. If AT&T and Comcast choose to buy wholesale services from iTV-3, you will be able to receive their services over iTV-3 fiber.

What type of equipment will iTV-3 install in a typical home or business?

Once an iTV-3 fiber cable enters a residence or a business, it will be connected to an Optical Network Terminal (ONT), which converts the pulses of light on the fiber- optic cable to electrical pulses on a copper Ethernet cable. For Internet service, a small router will plug into the ONT. That router will provide connection ports for wired Ethernet connections and also functions as a Wi-Fi access point.

Will the service rates for the rest of the community be the same as for the existing customers in the grant-funded service areas?

No, iTV-3’s Internet services and rates will be different than UC2B’s subsidized rates in the existing grant-funded service areas. As described above, existing UC2B customers will be able to continue getting service at their current rates for the duration of their contracts.

New Customers

What process will be used to determine where iTV-3 will build fiber first?

iTV-3’s web site includes a page where households and businesses in Champaign and Urbana can sign up for iTV-3 services: www.theperfectupgrade.com. Additionally, subscription forms may be completed at any of the three local Family Video locations.

In iTV-3’s fiber design, the entire community has been divided into service areas of between 150 and 350 locations. iTV-3 refers to those service areas as “neighborhoods.” While Google Fiber calls its service areas “fiberhoods”, this is a very similar approach to what Google Fiber is using in other communities to prioritize its fiber construction investments.

iTV-3 will determine what neighborhoods get built and when, with the exception of when more than 50% of the locations in a neighborhood sign up for iTV-3 service. Under the agreement with UC2B , when that 50% threshold is reached, iTV-3 must begin construction in that neighborhood within 120 days. Additional time is allowed if the 120 days includes winter, when underground fiber construction may not be possible.

Where can I see the map of the neighborhoods?

The map of the neighborhoods will be available online or at any of the three local Family Video locations soon.

When will construction start?

iTV-3’s local fiber construction will start later this summer. iTV-3 has committed to starting construction within 120 days (weather permitting) in any neighborhood once it reaches the 50% threshold.

How long might it take for iTV-3 to build the additional fiber?

iTV-3 is already doing engineering and plans to do as much fiber construction this summer and fall as the weather will allow. Depending on how many neighborhoods reach the 50% threshold and the weather, construction could continue through three more construction seasons after 2014.

Will the iTV-3 fiber construction mean we will have more cabinets and pedestals in our community’s rights of way?

No, iTV-3’s network and equipment design places the entire fiber infrastructure below ground. No new cabinets or pedestals will need to be installed by iTV-3.

What will happen to the money already pledged to attract a private partner?

We hope that you will be as excited about this partnership as we are at both UC2B and iTV-3, and if you pledged money toward expansion, you have a couple of options on how to proceed from here. You should receive an email or a letter soon in addition to the information below.

The money that you pledged is still safely in an account at Busey Bank, and if you’d like, you can leave your money exactly as it is. This expansion pledge will count as a sign-up for your neighborhood, and will bring you and your neighbors one home closer to reaching the 50% threshold required for iTV-3 to begin construction there. The money that you put in is still your money, and will be put toward your bill. By keeping your money pledged you will also get priority for installation once your neighborhood is constructed.

Your second option is to receive a refund of the money you pledged toward expansion. Although we truly hope you will continue to support us and keep your expansion pledge as it is, we understand if you would like your money back, and we are happy to process a refund. We do ask that you allow 7-15 business days for us to process this request. It is important to note that upon refund you will not be counted towards your neighborhood threshold unless you sign up at http://www.ThePerfectUpgrade.com.

For questions, we encourage you to visit uc2b.net and ThePerfectUpgrade.com for more information. You can also email us at expansion@uc2b.net, or give us a call at (217)366-8222. Again, we sincerely appreciate your support, and we look forward to having the opportunity to serve you through our partnership with iTV-3.

Where will iTV-3’s customer service centers be located?

iTV-3’s customer service agents will be located in the three local Family Video stores. Customers will also be able to pay iTV-3 service bills in person at those three local locations.

Can I sign up in person somewhere in addition to online?

Yes, you can sign up at any of the three local Family Video locations starting later today.

When will iTV-3 start taking subscriptions?

The iTV-3 website is able to take subscriptions from Champaign and Urbana today at www.theperfectupgrade.com. The local Family Video locations will be ready to take subscriptions later today.

The UC2B & iTV-3 Partnership

What is the current status of UC2B?

UC2B’s grant and construction periods have ended, and UC2B is now in an operations mode. More than 1,000 residences, 250 Anchor Institutions and 75 businesses were connected to UC2B fiber through our state and federal grants and with local funds. The residences and businesses are concentrated in the eleven neighborhoods that qualified for Federal funding. The Anchor Institutions are spread throughout the community.

Why has UC2B entered into this partnership?

We have determined that private investment is necessary to help expand the benefits of the network throughout Champaign and Urbana. This partnership allows us to work together towards that goal in a sustainable way that meets the community’s values.

From the very first draft of UC2B’s grant applications in 2009, the plan has always been to expand the Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) service areas. This agreement with iTV-3 will result in the expansion of fiber to more areas of the community and also bring in an experienced Illinois company to operate the system.

We chose this particular partner because it has an established track record of providing this type of service in other Illinois communities and also aligns well with our Community Broadband Principles that have been part of UC2B since its inception.

Why is this agreement good for our community?

Expanded areas of fiber service will help our community grow as well as attract and retain businesses and University faculty, staff and students. Champaign-Urbana can remain a community where your kids can grow up, find good jobs and stay in the community. There is risk with any broadband capital investment, and the risk for expanding the UC2B network is now with iTV-3 rather than that risk falling on city taxpayers.

What are the main components of this agreement?

The agreement between UC2B and iTV-3 protects the local community interests in many ways. This public-private partnership is unprecedented compared to other projects around the U.S.

First, iTV-3 agrees to operate and maintain the existing fiber network, continuing to provide service to existing UC2B customers under their existing contracts.

iTV-3 also agrees to build fiber infrastructure in any area of the community where 50% of the potential customers subscribe through a transparent subscription process. This commitment fulfills our Community Broadband Principles that the technology be fiber (not some lesser technology) and that all members of the Champaign and Urbana communities have the same potential to get this service.

iTV-3 will be investing tens of millions of dollars to build gigabit fiber optic internet in Champaign-Urbana.

iTV-3 also agrees to offer wholesale access on the network to competing companies. This commitment fulfills our Community Broadband Principle of open access. In addition, after five years, if any neighborhoods of C-U are not connected, iTV-3 will make unused ring fiber available for competing companies to offer service.

iTV-3 also agrees to contribute to UC2B’s Community Benefit Fund, which will be used to promote digital literary and digital inclusion.

UC2B agrees to lease unused backbone fiber strands to iTV-3 and allows iTV-3 to utilize the existing equipment to provide services.

What is iTV-3 getting from UC2B?

iTV-3 is gaining the ability to serve UC2B’s existing customers, and getting access to equipment and unused backbone fiber strands that will allow them to serve more neighborhoods. UC2B will continue to own the existing fiber and equipment. The existing fiber and equipment will be leased to iTV-3.

What is UC2B getting from iTV-3?

UC2B is getting an experienced Illinois operator with a strong commitment to customer service along with a commitment to expand the fiber-optic network to more neighborhoods of C-U. iTV-3 typically does not require residential customers to sign contracts. iTV-3 believes it should earn your business every day and if they fail to do so, you should be able to drop their service with no penalty.

iTV-3 has also agreed to invest tens of millions of dollars in expanding the Fiber-to- the-Premise (FTTP) services areas in Campaign and Urbana. iTV-3 will use a subscription model to determine where to build, which is now an industry standard way of making those investment decisions.

Who is iTV-3?

iTV-3 is a subsidiary of the Illinois-based family-owned company that owns and operates more than 775 Family Video stores in 19 states and Canada. Family Video is the largest movie and game rental chain in the United States. Family Video has three stores in our community and those three locations will serve as customer service locations for iTV-3. Family Video has a strong record of creating local jobs, hiring minorities for staff and management positions, and paying local property taxes.

Family Video was started in Springfield, Illinois and now has its corporate headquarters in Glenview, Illinois. Now in its third generation of family ownership, each generation has refined the overall business model of the company. It has been in the Internet Service Provider business since the mid 1990’s, and has provided fiber-based services since 2009.

Where else does iTV-3 provide fiber services?

iTV-3 currently provides Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) services in Pekin, Morton and East Peoria, and is working on building fiber infrastructure in several additional communities in the Peoria area.

How was iTV-3 selected to work with UC2B?

In July of 2012, UC2B submitted a response to a Request for Information (RFI) from a company called Gigabit Squared, which hoped to build Fiber-to-the-Premise projects in 10 university communities. In the process of developing that RFI response for Gigabit Squared, both City Councils adopted a set of Community Broadband Principles that would be expected of Gigabit Squared or any other private expansion partner. In August of 2012, UC2B released an RFI of its own to help identify any other organizations that were interested in expanding the UC2B fiber infrastructure and operating the network.

Between 2012 and now, UC2B has received RFI submissions or contacts from nine organizations interested in this private partnership. UC2B explicitly reached out to many existing ISPs inviting them to respond to the RFI—those included ISPs already operating in our community such as AT&T, Pavlov, Volo, and Comcast as well as outside ISPs such as Google Fiber. UC2B diligently reviewed all submissions, holding phone and in-person meetings as it narrowed the pool and focused on the organizations that best met the three Community Broadband Principles approved by the City Councils.

In October 2013, UC2B connected with iTV-3. Since that time, there has been an on going two-way due diligence process between UC2B and iTV-3. The result of that due diligence is the agreement being announced today.

Were there any local organizations that were interested in working with UC2B?

Yes, there were three organizations with local connections that responded to UC2B’s RFI. One of the organizations did not meet our qualifications to be a viable partner. Two of the three organizations said in their responses that they were not interested in being UC2B’s private expansion partner under the terms of the Community Broadband Principles, but that they looked forward to working with whoever was selected.

Google Fiber is already building Fiber-to-the-Home in several communities and is talking to several more. Would it be better to wait for Google Fiber?

We have made overtures to Google multiple times, including a formal application in 2010, when Google was soliciting applications. We are not privy to Google’s selection criteria, but we have no reason to believe that Google will be interested in building in Champaign-Urbana anytime in the near future. In this way, we are like most American communities; thus far, Google Fiber reaches a very small percentage of localities and it’s not clear how extensive its eventual network will be.

It’s also important to note that Google Fiber’s agreements with the cities where it is already building fiber are not consistent with our Community Broadband Principles that were adopted by both the Urbana and Champaign City Councils in 2012. For example, Google does not provide wholesale access to its network to competitors, as iTV-3 has agreed to do in Champaign and Urbana. Google also does not make binding build-out commitments, as iTV-3 has agreed to do.

What happens if iTV-3 fails to live up to its commitments in the agreement?

Should iTV-3 fail to live up to the commitments in the agreement designed to protect our communities and further the Community Broadband Principals, the use of the leased UC2B network will revert back to UC2B. Any fiber infrastructure built by iTV-3 remains the property of iTV-3. UC2B has an option to purchase the fiber infrastructure built by iTV-3 should some day iTV-3 wish to sell it.

What happens to the existing fiber leases that private and public organizations have with UC2B?

The fiber lease agreements entered into by UC2B will be honored by iTV-3. iTV-3 will assume the responsibility of maintaining the existing UC2B fiber infrastructure. There will be no change in how those organizations use the currently leased fiber strands.

Are there any additional public funds or obligations associated with this agreement?

No, there are no public bodies that are parties to this agreement. iTV-3 may elect to enter into additional agreements with Champaign, Urbana or the University, but those agreements would be independent of this agreement.

The UC2B & iTV-3 Transition

When will iTV-3 assume operational responsibility for the existing UC2B customers and infrastructure?

UC2B and iTV-3 are planning for an orderly transition of operations, customer support and billing in June.

What will happen to the Community Benefit Fund?

iTV-3 has agreed to fund UC2B’s Community Benefit fund for five years. Those funds will be administered by UC2B to promote digital literacy and digital inclusion.

What happens to the Community Benefit fund after five years?

Our community will probably still need digital literacy and digital inclusion programs in five years, so UC2B will work to find additional funding sources.

Who will own the existing equipment and fiber infrastructure that was purchased with Federal, State and local funds?

That infrastructure will continue to be owned by the UC2B Intergovernmental Consortium as it is today (subject to the Federal interest.) iTV-3 will have use of much of the existing fiber and equipment, but will not legally own it.

Who will own the new equipment and fiber infrastructure that iTV-3 installs?

iTV-3 will own the fiber and equipment that it pays for and installs.

What is the role of the UC2B Not-for-Profit Corporation Board of Directors moving forward?

The UC2B Not-for-Profit Corporation Board of Directors will be able to turn its primary attention from the construction and operations of the fiber network to working on how to best leverage the network for the benefit of our community. Those efforts could take many forms and the Board members are looking forward to those opportunities.