HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville Utilities announced back in February that it would build out a fiber network, then lease space for Google Fiber to provide internet to all of Huntsville. They initially said the buildout would take place over approximately three years, with the first customers getting Google Fiber in spring or summer of 2017. WHNT News 19 now has more information about that timeline.
The whole process starts with a fiber backbone, built by Huntsville Utilities.
Huntsville Utilities Spokesperson Joe Gehrdes says, "We are about 78% complete with the backbone fiber loop, which is what will feed the distribution fiber."
Now they've hired Bear Communications of Kansas to build out the next stage. The company won a competitive bid process based on price and experience. Gehrdes says, "It's a huge project, and so a company has got to be pretty robust to handle a project of this size. And they met the bid specifications and won the bid."
Bear is set to begin construction on the distribution network on September 12. As fiber reaches neighborhoods, Google Fiber is in charge of carrying it to homes.
But as for the Huntsville Utilities part, Gehrdes says, "We're on schedule. We'll have to build the network out in three years. We anticipate the first section being ready for customers to receive service from whoever, in this case Google, late spring, early summer, which is consistent with what we've given since the beginning."
They've also identified a starting point for the fiber network.
"We'll begin that construction out in the Chase area, which is northeast Huntsville," Gehrdes tells WHNT News 19, "We haven't quite hammered out where it will go from there, but that area will see the first service offered from Google, we believe."
That area is located on Jordan Rd. between Shields Rd. and Moores Mill Rd.
Right now, there's a lean toward building counterclockwise from the northeast.
Gehrdes tells us, "That's probably how it will go, but we and The Broadband Group, and Bear Communications, who is doing the fiber construction, are still working that out."
WHNT New 19 reached out to Google to see if their plans for fiber in Huntsville remain the same, but they have not contacted us back. However, Gehrdes tells us their lease has already been executed to best of his knowledge.