HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Southern Light announced it will start construction on a fiber network backbone in 2015 at a media conference on Wednesday.
Whenever city leaders gather to announce a new business moving to Huntsville, the first thing you ask about is job growth.
Southern Light CEO Andy Newton answers, “We normally start construction and then start building a team that will be focused on Huntsville. That might start out in the ten person range but might build up to twenty plus.”
Southern Light means a lot more than that to the business community though. It will provide fiber to a lot of companies that rely on moving a lot of data.
Newton elaborates, “What we’ll first do is build out a ring in Research Park that will allow customers easy access to the outside world, and as that demand presents itself, we’ll connect each customer to that.”
As for getting that fiber into your house, Newton explains, “We are beta testing some residential markets, but what normally happens in a new network like this is that when we build out our core fiber network, other companies that provide residential services now have the connectivity to provide their complementary service to us.”
Right now though, it’s mainly about the massive traffic of Research Park companies. Take Hudson Alpha’s data all by itself. Their technology director, Peyton McNully, tells us, “About 32,000 Blu-Ray DVD’s get created at HudsonAlpha every year, and it’s got to go somewhere.”
Recently they got a new gene sequencer up and working.
McNully explains, “Ultimately, it gives a better, denser, and more capable look into the human genome.”
The research happening there, and maybe more importantly in this case, the research happening elsewhere that relies on this data can only move at the speed of Research Park’s internet connection.
McNully continues, “We’re one of a very few organizations that actually possess that technology, and it’s here in Huntsville. Connectivity has, in the past, been a limiting factor in our ability to create and work with others in curing diseases and impacting patient care.”
So imagine the difference it could make for the world to have that data moving even twice as fast, let alone ten or twenty times.