Bear Communications, largest contractor for Huntsville Utilities fiber network, told to stop work in Alabama

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A spokesperson for Huntsville Utilities says the largest contractor working on the company’s fiber network buildout, Bear Communications of Kansas, has been issued a cease and desist order by the State of Alabama Licensing Board for General Contractors.

Spokesperson Joe Gehrdes could not provide additional details as to the reason for the cease and desist, which he says came down Friday morning.

We also reached out to Bear Communications.  President and COO Lance Addison tells us, “There’s a technical issue with our contractor’s license in Alabama.  We are working to rectify the matter, and hopefully have it resolved by the next State Licensing Board meeting”.

According to the state licensing board website, the next quarterly meeting is January 18, 2017.

Gehrdes does say the utility company is working with a number of contractors on the project. For example, Gehrdes says the utility company did successfully establish a fiber hut today, under another contractor.

A statement from the Huntsville Utilities says, “This action will not prevent progress of the network construction, nor will it affect other agreements already in place.”

Huntsville Utilities has to meet a number of benchmark dates to fulfill their lease with Google Fiber.

Gehrdes told us back in August that the utility hired Bear Communications to work on the buildout. The company won a competitive bid process.  Gehrdes told us at the time they won based on price and experience, “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.”

WHNT News 19 reached out to the State of Alabama Licensing Board for General Contractors, but we have not successfully reached anyone who could explain the reason for the cease and desist.

We will update you here and on-air when we uncover new information.