HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – You may not know, but Huntsville Utilities already maintains a fiber network. They use it to monitor their systems — but that only takes up so much of the bandwidth.
Some want the rest to go toward providing internet connections to the rest of the city.
Huntsville Utilities Spokesperson Joe Gehrdes admits, “There has been some discussion because we have that existing network.”
The city issued a Request for Information for fiber providers just last week. However, Huntsville Utilities will not respond to it.
“At this time,” says Gehrdes, “Huntsville Utilities is not looking to get into a fiber-to-the-home business.”
However, the utility company’s existing fiber infrastructure may still help the rest of the city get their fiber internet.
Gehrdes notes, “We’re playing a support role to see who responds to the city, what kind of responses the city gets, and how we can support that.”
For example, they may consider renting out some of the unused fiber they already have installed.
As for why the utility company doesn’t want to follow the lead of others in the industry who did opt for municipal fiber, like Chattanooga, Gehrdes explains, “Chattanooga had an ideal situation where they were doing a lot of things at once that made fiber-to-the-home make sense to them. And some of that included some federal dollars that we don’t have access to.”
They say the up-front cost of installing fiber to the home is just to high. If you’d like to see how Huntsville Utilities fits into the city’s RFI, you can read the full document here.