HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Huntsville Utilities’ interest in possibly creating a high-speed, fiber-optic Internet network just got a little more serious.
At its meeting Thursday night, the City Council gave the utility permission to hire a Las Vegas-based consultant, The Broadband Group, to study the feasibility of getting into the ultra-fast Internet business.
Spokesman Joe Gehrdes said Huntsville Utilities currently has a small fiber-optic network for its own data needs. The $47,490 study will help decide if it makes financial sense to expand that network to also serve commercial customers.
“We are not talking about fiber to the home at this point,” said Gehrdes.
Laying miles of new fiber-optic cable would require a “significant investment” by the city-owned utility, said Gehrdes. The Broadband Group will help pinpoint the exact cost.
Mayor Tommy Battle said it is crucial to take a serious look at citywide, high-speed, fiber-optic Internet service, whether it is provided by Huntsville Utilities or a private company. Dozens of U.S. cities are already wired for speed, including Chattanooga and Opelika.
Battle called high-speed fiber “the infrastructure of the future” and said it will eventually be as important as roads, water and sewer lines.