Huntsville Utilities to Build a Fiber Network Throughout the City
February 22, 2016
Mayor Tommy Battle joined Huntsville Utilities CEO Jay Stowe today in announcing construction of a new fiber network that will meet the area’s rapidly growing data and communication needs.
The Mayor also announced that Huntsville is officially becoming a Gig City. Google Fiber, a high-speed TV and Internet service, will be bringing its service to Huntsville residents and small businesses.
Today’s news comes 15 months after Mayor Battle proclaimed his goal to make Huntsville a Gig City.
“Google’s entrance into our market bolsters our high-tech legacy, energizes our entrepreneurs, tinkers and engineers, and supports the high quality of life Huntsville is known for delivering,” said Mayor Battle. “Fiber to the home is the Internet infrastructure for the 21st century. It is as vital to our quality of life as roads, water, sewer and electricity. It will become the benchmark for cities vying for talent.”
The City embarked on a quest to entice broadband providers to Huntsville with a request for information last year. Since that time, Southern Light began building fiber to the business in Cummings Research Park, and Comcast and AT&T announced plans to offer gigabit service to customers.
These developments have helped to bring more competition and choice to residents and businesses. And now, in order to prepare municipal Information Technology services, local electric grid technology and more for the future, Huntsville Utilities is going to invest in new fiber infrastructure.
“We installed our first fiber optic line about 16 years ago and quickly recognized the need to further expand our fiber network to meet rapidly growing data and communication needs,” said Jay Stowe, CEO of Huntsville Utilities. “As we build this vital network, we will have excess dark fiber capacity that will be available for lease by interested parties, such as Google Fiber.”
Stowe said the Huntsville Utilities board of directors would vote on the lease agreement with Google Fiber at their meeting Tuesday, Feb. 23.
“Abundant high-speed Internet can help communities grow stronger, laying a foundation for innovation and economic growth,” said Jill Szuchmacher, Director of Expansion for Google Fiber. “Huntsville’s leaders have taken a big step by bringing a new fiber network to their residents and businesses. We look forward to working with Huntsville Utilities and the City to bring Google Fiber to more people.”
Mayor Battle emphasized the City’s vision for broadband service is in alignment with Google Fiber’s. “Our citizens need and deserve competitive opportunities for connectivity with the highest possible speeds at the lowest possible cost. Google Fiber is committed to the same goal.”
Beyond the Mayor’s office, Huntsville’s Gig City initiative involved a host of local CEOs, Chamber and Cyber Huntsville representatives, national consultants The Broadband Group and CTC, and owners of area start-up companies. Their input was invaluable in creating this new municipal model for gigabit service.
“We already know Huntsville is a place where people do cool things, smart things, things that change the world,” said Mayor Battle. “A rocket city deserves rocket speed, and that means a network that connects to the Internet at 1 gigabit per second. Your Internet will be 50 to 100 times faster than it is today.”