If there’s one thing that monopolistic (via region) ISPs like Comcast and Time Warner Cable hate, it’s competition. If your small town or city is looking to startup its own high-speed fiber Internet service to provide its residents with the speed and access that the big boys just won’t offer, chances are that the telecom lobby will strike with a vengeance.
And if municipal fiber Internet wasn’t "bad enough", cable companies also have to contend with services like Google Fiber, which is slowly starting to creep across the United States in major markets. So what happens when municipal fiber Internet joins forces with Google Fiber? Well, that’s enough to make well-entrenched players call in for air support.
Such is the case in Huntsville, Alabama where Google Fiber will expand its reach by piggybacking of the $57 million fiber network that the town is building. The fiber network’s operator, Huntsville Utilities, will lease its infrastructure to Google so that it can offer Google Fiber service to the nearly 190,000 residents.
“To date, we’ve built the majority of our Google Fiber networks from scratch. But over the past five years, we’ve repeatedly seen that every city is unique,” writes Google Fiber Expansion Director Jill Szuchmacher. “In Provo, Utah, our Google Fiber service is being delivered over a network we purchased from the city. In Atlanta, Georgia, we’re both constructing our own network, and using existing fiber to provide Google Fiber to some apartment buildings.”
Huntsville officials see the partnership with Google Fiber as a “low-risk” investment that will pay off down the road for the city. “The way that the gig has been used in Chattanooga as a recruitment tool for entrepreneurs and for residents in general, we think we’ll see a similar impact,” said Huntsville Business Relations Officer Harrison Diamond. “It’s things that we don’t even know that are coming that we need to be ready for.”
Google Fiber is currently available in Provo, Utah; Austin, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Kansas City, Missouri. Upcoming metro areas that are confirmed to receive Google Fiber (other than Huntsville) include Salt Lake City, Utah; San Antonio, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. There are also another 11 cities listed at “Potential” Google Fiber cities.