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Huntsville, Alabama, has NASA, US Missile Command ... and now gigabit Google Fiber

Rocket City will lease out its new network to ad giant

Add Huntsville, Alabama, to the ranks of cities with the Google Fiber broadband service.

The city announced on Monday that Google will lease part of a new municipal broadband network it is building. No timeline has been given for when the high-speed service will launch.

The ISP will be part of the larger Huntsville Utilities broadband network, which will also serve as pipeline for a smart power grid. This marks the first time Google has agreed to run Fiber over a city-owned network rather than lay its own fiber lines or purchase a network outright (as it did in Provo, Utah).

"To date, we've built the majority of our Google Fiber networks from scratch. But over the past five years, we've repeatedly seen that every city is unique," said Google Fiber Expansion director Jill Szuchmacher.

"So in order to bring Fiber to more people, we've taken different approaches in different places."

Nicknamed "Rocket City," Huntsville has deep ties to the aeronautics industry. The nearby Redstone Arsenal houses NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the US Army's Missile Command.

In 2014, the city kicked off a push to get a city-wide fiber network built, and courted telco providers to sign on to deliver internet service over the portion of the network not being used for municipal services.

"Google's entrance into our market bolsters our high-tech legacy, energizes our entrepreneurs, tinkers and engineers, and supports the high quality of life Huntsville is known for delivering," said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.

"Fiber to the home is the Internet infrastructure for the 21st century. It is as vital to our quality of life as roads, water, sewer and electricity. It will become the benchmark for cities vying for talent."

Google has been working to expand its 1Gbps Fiber to additional US cities in recent months. Earlier this year, the Mountain View advertising giant announced plans to launch Fiber in Louisville, Kentucky amidst protest from cable companies. ®

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