By | Follow on Twitter
A Southern Light executive says the company plans to spend “north of $10 million” creating anew high-speed, fiber-optic communications network in Huntsville for commercial users.
At Thursday night’s City Council meeting, Chief Operating Officer Eric Daniels said Southern Light is already hiring and training people who will be involved in deploying the Huntsville network. The Mobile-based cable company will eventually have about 30 employees in the Rocket City, he said.
You can apply for those jobs online atsouthernlightfiber.com/careers/.
Daniels said more details will be revealed June 10, when Southern Light formally announces its entry into the Huntsville market.
Council members welcomed the company Thursday by approving a franchise agreement that allows Southern Light to install its fiber-optic cables within the public right of way.
In exchange, the contract says Southern Light will pay Huntsville a quarterly “use fee” of $2,000 or 5 percent of gross revenues – whichever is greater. The deal runs for 10 years.
Southern Light’s network is a key first step in Mayor Tommy Battle’s plan to make Huntsville a “GIG City” with ultra-fast Internet download speeds of at least one gigabit per second.
Daniels said Southern Light has been transmitting data at those speeds on the Gulf Coast since 2001 and now has the capability of moving data at 10 gigabits per second. A new Southern Light billboard on I-565 near the U.S. Space & Rocket Center reads, “One Gig Is So 2008.”
While Southern Light does not provide content, its cable network links businesses needing to move large amounts of data quickly and allows Internet service providers to supply content.
Southern Light has said it can have fiber-optic cable to the first Huntsville commercial customers within six months.
Meanwhile, Huntsville officials continue to review proposals from 13 other companies interested in providing high-speed, fiber-based Internet to both homes and businesses. The proposals were submitted in April after the city asked potential partners for ideas to upgrade Internet service.