I will talk to Mayor Tommy Battle about this at 6:20 this morning and post the conversation later.
Google Fiber is bringing its gigabit-speed, fiber optic Internet and television service to Huntsville, Mayor Tommy Battle announced today.
Starting in mid-2017, Google will begin connecting homes and small- to mid-sized businesses to the Internet at speeds up to 1 gigabit per second – up to 85 times faster than average current speeds in the United States. Citywide service is expected in four years.
“If you’re going to have a high-tech community,” Battle said, “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.”
Google Fiber now serves Kansas City; Provo, Utah; Austin, Texas; and Atlanta, Ga., and had announced plans to expand to five other cities, including Nashville. Huntsville would become the tenth city in the nation with Google Fiber.
Can’t wait to see how small government people love the city getting involved in the internet and cable game…
Google Fiber will partner with Huntsville Utilities, which is extending its fiber-optic cable network to build a “smart utility grid” that can reroute power faster to repair outages, among other things.
“We are building the network for our own purposes,” utility President and CEO Jay Stowe said in an interview. “It’s going to have excess fiber that’s available for lease, and Google will be the first company to lease that fiber.”
Under the plan, Huntsville Utilities will own the system’s fiber backbone, and Google will own the power line-to-home connections, handle all hookups and provide the services.
“This is the first time we are partnering in this way,” Szuchmacher said.
In 2015 as part of its Gig City push, Huntsville asked companies to bring their ideas for high-speed Internet to the city. It had 13 responses, but Stowe said no company was ready with every piece of the puzzle.
Huntsville considered the Chattanooga model, where the local utility is the Internet, television and telephone provider, Stowe said, and it considered limited service to businesses or government offices.
“Each either had a problem or was too expensive or we didn’t feel comfortable with that decision,” Stowe said.
Chattanooga’s government-owned fiber optic cable, telephone and high-speed Internet scheme has been hailed as a revolutionary example of publicly-funded broadband. The Internet service, which officials claim can reach speeds of a gigabit-per-second, even led Chattanooga officials to attempt to rebrand the town as “Gig City.”
But critics are already calling the effort, known as The Gig, a “socialist-style boondoggle” that has allowed a taxpayer-funded government electric utility to compete against private, existing cable, satellite, telephone and Internet providers. The results, skeptics say, have given federal taxpayers and Chattanooga residents little cause for celebration.
The infrastructure necessary to get EPB, the city-owned electric utility previously known as the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, in the cable, telephone and Internet business will ultimately cost federal taxpayer and local electric customers a total in excess of half a billion dollars.
There appears to be little to show for all of that money.
Promises that the lightning-fast Internet service would generate economic development and create jobs in the southeast Tennessee city have never materialized. The service has also failed to meet projected subscriber goals.
“Many Chattanooga residents are outraged at EPB’s behavior, and they have a right to be. EPB officials have bullied local media outlets to prevent negative coverage and prevented citizens from receiving public records,” said Mr. Greene, a research fellow at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. “Now EPB is even facing a series of lawsuits because it apparently overbilled municipal governments for electric services.”
Despite these opposition, EPB is now petitioning the Federal Communications Commission to bypass state laws so the electric utility can expand its fiber services beyond its current footprint and in to neighboring states.
Lastly, what does this mean?
City economic development officer Harrison Diamond, Stowe, Battle, and others have been working the issue “aggressively” for the past 6-7 months. They say they consider high-speed Internet a basic utility of the future just like water, natural gas and electricity.
My guess, free stuff is coming for some. After all it is a basic utility, we have to make it available (give it) to all.
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