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Huntsville's Gains in Multi-Gigabit Ethernet Mean Huge Connectivity

February 23, 2017

When considering the “most connected” cities in the United States, some names likely come to mind. Major names like New York or Los Angeles, maybe some also-rans like Chicago. Maybe some tech-heavy names like San Francisco or Seattle. Huntsville, Alabama likely doesn't crack the top 10, but new reports say that this 180,000-person strong community is about to be a big name in connectivity, thanks to its work on the multi-gigabit Ethernet front.

Last year, Huntsville took a step that quite a few towns were taking: installing its own municipal fiber network. Such a move meant multi-gigabit Ethernet connectivity for a wide array of area businesses and even residences, and often with better prices and customer service than some major bandwidth providers could muster.

With the fiber network in place, Huntsville then inked a deal with Google Fiber, a move that brought services from WOW to Comcast out to bring in their gigabit services to run on the city's own network. Google will be leasing the network, which Comcast will be turning to DOCSIS 3.1 to deliver higher speeds that are most commonly seen over cable connections, reaching the gigabit level.

This means good news for Huntsville consumers. Not only is there a new top end to high-speed Internet access, but the prices of slower—but still plenty fast—plans like 100 megabit systems drop about $27 a month, based on a study from the Analysis Group. A city that has one gigabit provider already, but gets a second, sees prices drop over a third, and even slower speeds get cheaper, dropping an average of 14 to 19 percent.

It certainly doesn't hurt that Huntsville is something of a tech hub in its own right—the company's been an aerospace center for years—but everyone these days wants faster connectivity and more capacity, even those who already have some pretty impressive instances of both.

Basically, it comes down to competition. When there's more of it, businesses respond by lowering prices, improving service, and trying to be a better value. When there's less, we get things like the Ryan Block Incident. This should be a call for consumers everywhere to demand more options of all the political figures that happen to be around, because more competition is better for the consumer.  Broadband connectivity is no different.

Huntsville has demonstrated how good it is to have a competitive multi-gigabit Ethernet market, and made itself one of the most connected cities in the U.S. Hopefully other cities will take a page out of Huntsville's book.

Edited by Alicia Young

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