Google Fiber Joins Forces with Municipal Broadband Network

Huntsville is doing it right. They can attract Google and other service providers to utilize their fiber infrastructure while seeing a modest return on investment. Citizens benefit from better services and price competition. I hope that more municipalities start utilizing this model.

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Google Fiber said on Monday that it plans to bring its gigabit Internet service to Huntsville, Alabama. But instead of laying its own fiber, Google will offer service over a network that is being built by the city-owned Huntsville Utilities. Huntsville will lease space on the network to Google so it can offer Internet service. But it’s not an exclusive deal, so other Internet providers could offer broadband over the same fiber. Huntsville, a city of nearly 190,000 residents, has been planning the fiber build for more than a year.

City officials “see it as a low-risk investment, as compared to administering the gigabit Internet themselves, which would require a massive increase in personnel in an arena where they have limited expertise,” local news station WHNT reported today. Google Fiber should be available to the first Huntsville customers by the middle of 2017, but it could take a few years to extend service throughout the city, the report said.

Google Fiber offers service in Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Provo, Utah; Austin, Texas; and Atlanta, Georgia. Huntsville is now one of six additional cities where Google says it will offer service. Google lists 11 other cities as “potential” Fiber locations, bringing the total of possible deployments to 21 metro areas.

“To date, we’ve built the majority of our Google Fiber networks from scratch,” Google said in its announcement. But in some cities, Google is taking advantage of existing infrastructure. “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. And now, due to the leadership of the Mayor [Tommy Battle] and Huntsville Utilities CEO Jay Stowe, we’ll be working with a muni-owned network to bring our high-speed service to Huntsville.”

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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