Alabama’s First Fiber Network Smart Grid System

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.

Valerie Stephen
valeriestephen@geo-tel.com