18 Dec Alabama’s First Fiber Network Smart Grid System
It took over five years filled with debates, false claims by competitors that coax is more reliable than fiber, and even a special election, but the Opelika City Council finally approved rates for the city’s new fiber optic system, putting it one step closer to reality.
This municipally-owned smart grid project, which incorporates data, video and voice, is a first for Alabama. The project began in 2008 when city council officials collaborated with Opelika Power Services to bring in high-speed Internet, high-definition television and telephone services for residents and businesses.
“This is going to put us on the map like never before,” Mayor Gary Fuller told the Opelika-Auburn News. “We were all in this together from the get-go, and we’ll be the first municipally owned utility in the state of Alabama to build a fiber to the home system.”
Mayor Fuller explained that the fiber optic network is vital for Opelika’s growth because fiber optic networks are such a big attraction for prospective businesses. The city invested $41 million in the project, which included building a new Opelika Power Service building where all cables connect. Additionally, they have laid more than 425 miles of fiber optic cables and approved an agreement with EarthLink to act as a second carrier for the network.
“It’s a redundancy in other words,” David Horton, Opelika Power Services Director, said on WTVM.com. “We already have a provider that provides broadband to us, and if we have an outage or a problem in the system, this just gives us another avenue to provide the service and keep it coming to our customers.”
The city-owned fiber optic network now moves into the final stage where they can start accepting orders from customers. The city council-approved pricing structure begins at $99.95 per month for basic essential services and goes up to $154.85 per month for the premium package.
When city officials and local service providers are ready to enhance local high-speed Internet access, GeoTel Communications can provide fiber network maps and telecom maps. Our data sets help areas like Opelika plan new networks by layering infrastructure onto high-quality street-based maps. GeoTel creates custom telecom maps at client requests. If you are interested in obtaining telecom maps, contact GeoTel Communications at (800) 277-2172.