Huntsville Utilities Electric Board unanimously approves Google Fiber agreement

Huntsville
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Huntsville Utilities Electric Board has unanimously approved an agreement to bring Google Fiber to the Rocket City.  Board members voted during a meeting Tuesday morning at the main office of Huntsville Utilities.

“It’s something that’s going to pay for itself very quickly,” said President and CEO of Huntsville Utilities Jay Stowe.

City leaders announced the deal Monday.  Huntsville Utilities will build the network and lease the infrastructure to Google.

The project will bring Internet speeds of up to 100 times that of traditional broadband to Huntsville.  The first customers should receive service by 2017.

Huntsville Utilities is getting the biggest bang for their buck with their newest venture of fiber optics. “We needed to build anyway; to better serve our customers,” said Stowe.

So with the extra fiber optics that they don’t need for their own services, they’re leasing out.

On Tuesday, the board of directors approved three agreements giving Google a set leasing rate for the next 20 years. It will cost $57 million to complete the project, and now, it will pay for itself through the leasing contracts.

Huntsville Utilities estimates the fiber optic design will take six months to complete. After that, crews will begin installing the network in sections. “We will build it over the next three and a half years or so,” said Stowe.

But, as far as who will get the first chance to have the gig-speed internet? No one knows just yet. “It depends on the size when we actually finish the design, and exactly which one makes the most sense for us to start with,” said Stowe.

By 2017, the first customers in Huntsville will have the chance to have the fastest internet speeds around, with the project being fully complete by 2020.

As of now, Stowe says there are other companies inquiring about the fiber optics, but Google Fiber is the only company to have signed on, so far.

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