What you need to know: Google Fiber opens sign-ups for some Huntsville households

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The first group of interested customers in Huntsville are now able to sign up for Google Fiber, the company announced Tuesday.

Huntsville Utilities is doing the legwork on the infrastructure, building the fiber backbone across the city limits and later into its coverage area. Google Fiber is leasing the fiber space from Huntsville Utilities.

Google Fiber is now rolling out its service across the city, section-by-section. It was able to come to Huntsville faster than any other city so far because of its partnership with Huntsville Utilities.

"Thanks to Mayor Battle, and the City of Huntsville, and Huntsville Utilities, Google Fiber is able to bring its service faster than ever to Huntsville,"said Caroline de Gantes, Google Fiber Head of Business Operations.

The first residents able to sign up for Google Fiber are those who live east of Pulaski Pike and North of I-565 and Highway 72 into the Chase area. Click here for a map.

"We are thrilled. We are so excited that we can bring Google Fiber service to residents in North Huntsville," said de Gantes. "We will also be thrilled to be serving more neighborhoods in the Rocket City in the weeks and months to come."

What is Google Fiber?

Google Fiber is fast internet along with the option of HDTV and phone service. Its gigabit internet offers speeds up to 100x traditional broadband, but there are other options available. It is a service that you can purchase the same as any other cable or internet company.

Google Fiber will focus on residential customers and small businesses. All of Huntsville served by Huntsville Utilities should have service by 2020.

Representatives say it will provide faster streaming, downloads, and uploads.

"Those things, instead of taking hours, now take minutes," said de Gantes. "Instead of taking minutes, now take seconds. That spinning wheel of buffering goes away," she explained.

Who is eligible?

To find out if you are among the first customers able to get Google Fiber, begin by clicking here.

You will be asked to input your address.

If you are eligible, you will be able to follow a few steps to sign up for fiber. If not, you have the option to sign up for email updates about when Google Fiber is coming to your area.

When you sign up, the process of getting Google Fiber into your home begins. These are the steps:

  • Sign up
  • A "drop" (where Google Fiber takes fiber from the network to your street to the house)
  • Scheduling an in-home installation appointment
  • An in-home installation where a technician will come and do a design plan based on your needs, then connect your home to the Google Fiber services you've chosen

Google Fiber representatives say the customer service during that process will be top-notch.

"If you schedule a time for 3:45 on a Wednesday, our in-home installation technicians will arrive at 3:45 on Wednesday. We are really proud of that," she said.

What if I'm not eligible?

If you do not live in the newest Google Fiber-ready area but you do live in Huntsville city limits, representatives say you shouldn't have to wait very long. Huntsville Utilities is expecting to finish its buildout within its three-year time frame, and leaders there tell us they are on schedule.

Huntsville Utilities needs to come in and complete the infrastructure before Google Fiber can come in.

De Gantes says you can sign up for updates about when Google Fiber is ready to come to your area.

"You will get an email telling you when Google Fiber is ready in your area. We are excited to start in North Huntsville, but it is just the beginning."

How much will it cost?

Google Fiber also revealed its Huntsville pricing Tuesday, offering multiple packages.

  • Fiber internet plans: 100 or 1000 Mbps, $50/month and $70/month respectively
  • Fiber internet + TV plans:
    • 100 Mbps internet and TV including 220+ channels and an HD DVR- $140/month
    • 1000 Mbps internet and TV including 220+ channels and an HD DVR- $160/month
  • Fiber phone: $10/month

Google Fiber says there are no data caps, no annual contracts, and no installation fees. They do boast powerful Wi-Fi through a provided network box.

Who else has it?

Huntsville is joining the ranks of other cities that have Google Fiber.

- Atlanta, GA (Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, College Park, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville, Sandy Springs, Smyrna)
- Austin, TX
- Charlotte, NC
- Kansas City, MO
- Kansas City, KS
- Nashville, TN
- Orange County, CA
- Provo, UT
- Salt Lake City, UT
- The Triangle, NC (Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Garner, Morrisville, Raleigh)

Huntsville was listed with two other cities as Upcoming Fiber Cities: Louisville, KY and San Antonio, TX.

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