Huntsville Utilities Municipal Fiber Project enters next phase

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - We're officially one step closer to a municipal fiber network that serves all of the Rocket City.  This week begins the second phase of the build-out for Huntsville Utilities that will eventually allow Google Fiber to come to Huntsville.

For Phase One, Huntsville Utilities began work in a fiber backbone that loops around the city. Currently, that phase is about 80% complete. “We’re almost finished with that. Now begins the distribution fiber construction that gets down into the neighborhoods," said Joe Gehrdes, Director of Communications and Public Relations at Huntsville Utilities.

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A worker with Bear Communications prepares to lay fiber lines in a Huntsville neighborhood. (Photo: Chris Davis/WHNT News 19)

This week, Bear Communications is beginning the prep work on actually laying the fiber lines, street by street.

For neighborhoods that already have existing underground utilities, crews will install an additional fiber line that goes below your feet. Likewise, if your neighborhood already has power lines, they'll add another wire that hangs from above.

“They have started their construction in northwest Huntsville. That will be served by our Chase Fiber district," said Gehrdes.

Cedar Point and Sturbridge Drive are the first residential roadways to see installation. Huntsville Utilities picked the Chase community first, because they already had a location set aside for the fiber hut.  “Our Chase facility is a large facility. There’s a lot of land there, a lot of space to put that hut while we look around for the other locations," said Gehrdes.

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While the final path of construction hasn't been officially decided, Gehrdes believes they will install fiber districts in a counterclockwise direction.

Many may know the project for its partnership with Google Fiber, but the online giant doesn't actually get involved until the final step. “Much in the same way we have a service line that goes from transmission to a residence, Google or anyone providing that type of service, will have a similar line that goes from wherever the distribution line is, to the home," Gehrdes said.

It will take about three years for the fiber lines to be installed in all Huntsville neighborhoods, however, the Chase community should be ready to use the high speed internet as early as Summer 2017.