What would a city government do to obtain internet speeds 100-times faster than those offered in most of the country? In Huntsville, Ala., the city fathers decided they would build their own fiber network and invite Google and other high-speed internet providers to piggyback on top.
Google’s partnership with Huntsville and Huntsville Utilities, announced in a blog post, is unusual. Typically, when Google Fiber moves into a new area, the company has to build a fiber network from the ground up or buy an existing network.
In 2014, Huntsville’s leaders wanted an electrical smart grid and “shared their vision for a community energized by superfast speeds,” Google wrote. “To help achieve this goal the city asked to hear from fiber providers who might be interested in working together. So we got in touch.”
Google Fiber was first introduced in Kansas City, Kansas. It offers service now in Austin, Texas; Provo, Utah, and Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to Huntsville, Google plans to expand to five other cities.
Huntsville Utilities must still design and build the network, Google said. After that, Google Fiber can bring the company’s much-lauded gigabit-speed to Huntsville residents, but that won’t be until 2017 at the earliest, Google said.
“If you’re going to have a high-tech community,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, according to AL.com, “if you’re going to be able to address the new workforce that’s out there, you’re going to have a lot of people who want to work from home – mothers and fathers with children, biotech people – who are going to need high-speed Internet service.”