If your business depends on lightning-fast broadband speeds, you might want to consider relocating your head office to Chattanooga, Tenn. Although not normally considered one of the country’s tech hot spots, the city is making a play for more love from the industry by offering 10-gigabit speeds to residential and business customers.
That’s 10 times the speeds Google has been offering through its Google Fiber ultra-high-speed service, and light years ahead of traditional Internet service providers. The service, which is being offered through the local community-owned power and communication utility EPB, is available to every home and business within a 600-square-mile area.
“Five years ago, Chattanooga and Hamilton County became the first in the United States to offer up to 1-gig Internet speeds,” said Harold DePriest, president and CEO of EPB, in a statement. “Today, we become the first community in the world capable of delivering up to 10 gigs to all 170,000 households and businesses in our service area.”
The service is available for $299 a month, with no additional installation fees or contracts. In addition, the company is offering 3-gig, 5-gig, and 10-gigabit plans for large enterprises and small businesses at a variety of prices. The service is powered by Alcatel-Lucent’s TWDM-PON broadband technology.
The city is promoting the benefits of the ultra-high-speed service to companies that need to upload and download large files, such as businesses involved in 3D printing, film production, gaming, medical image diagnostics, software development, and big data. “Chattanooga offers a unique opportunity to dramatically increase productivity and workflow whether employees are working from home or the office,” EPB said in the statement.
Building a 10-gigabit service hasn’t been a simple process for the city of Chattanooga, however. The state of Tennessee prohibits municipal governments from providing Internet service on their own. When the city first built its fiber network in 2008, Internet service provider Comcast sued EPB to prevent the service from going online. Comcast lost its suit, and eventually improved its service speeds to compete with EPB.
The Federal Communications Commission has ruled in Chattanooga’s favor regarding its right to extend its broadband service, but the state government is currently appealing that decision. The state has argued that by allowing EPB to extend its service area, it is disincentivizing private companies from investing in broadband infrastructure.
But Chattanooga said that it has already reaped many benefits from its municipal Internet service. The city cited a recent University of Tennessee study showing that the municipal broadband initiative has helped the Chattanooga area generate more than 2,800 new jobs and $865.3 million in economic and social benefits.
“Chattanooga is a city ready to compete in the 21st Century innovation economy,” said Mayor Andy Berke, in the statement. “The 1-gigabit service has already played a pivotal role in transforming our city, attracting new businesses and providing our residents with affordable high-speed connectivity. The 10-gig offering will continue to grow wages, diversify our local economy and propel Chattanooga as a center for technology and invention.”
Posted: 2015-10-17 @ 3:59pm PT
Disincentivize private companies from investing in broadband infrastructure? Really? So are private companies only investing in broadband infrastructure where there is no competition and they can milk subscribers? I applaud Chattanooga and would rather work and live there than in monopolized places.