published Monday, September 13th, 2010

EPB to offer nation's fastest Internet by year end

1 Gigabit service coming to Chattanooga

  • photo
    Photo by Mike Chambers - Workers with Ervin Cable Construction, Inc., run fiber-optic cable for EPB along Scenic Highway on Lookout Mountain. Work now is under way in Dade and Walker counties in Georgia and northern Hamilton County, officials said.

— By the end of the year, EPB Fiber Optics expects to offer the fastest Internet service in the United States.

The city-owned utility announced today it will boost its broadband service to 1 Gigabit throughout its service territory by the end of 2010. Such a connection will be 200 times faster than the average broadband speed in America and the fastest of any U.S. city.

Only Hong Kong and a few other cities in the world offer such service, making Chattanooga “one of the leading cities in the world in its digital capabilities,” Mayor Ron Littlefield said.

EPB will use Alcatel-Lucent’s gigabit passive optical network technology for the service, which will be available this fall to more than 100,000 homes and businesses.

“Chattanooga is light years ahead when it comes to providing ultra fast broadband,” said Tom Wilson, president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.

The new high-speed service won’t come cheap, however. EPB plans to charge $350 a month for the new service.

“We don’t know how to price a gig,” EPB President Harold DePriest told the New York Times.

Details in Tuesday's Times Free Press

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TnFlash said...

What good is the excessive speed if it is not needed? How about getting the price of regular internet lower so everyone can afford it? That would be a better benefit to the whole population since we are more and more being forced to do business online by government and corporate America. Would it not be a bigger feather in our city's cap if they could brag that every family in this area was connected to affordable internet?

September 13, 2010 at 3:54 p.m.
sandyonsignal said...

It is like a Ferrari, I would love to have it, but it ain't gonna happen at that price. Perhaps, the only one who thinks this is reasonable is Harold DePriest, and I doubt he pays for his.

September 13, 2010 at 4:05 p.m.
whatever said...

What good is the excessive speed if it is not needed?

Don't need it? Don't buy it.

Would it not be a bigger feather in our city's cap if they could brag that every family in this area was connected to affordable internet?

That would be why they're expanding to cover every household in the area. This is just a puff piece for those folks who want ultra high speed. The NYtimes article on this subject explains their motivation as offering it simply because they can, not because it's really needed. For a certain segment of the population, well, it appeals to them.

For the rest? Not like they're being denied anything because of it. If anything, the people buying this ultra premium service will help to subsidize them.

September 13, 2010 at 4:12 p.m.
Musicman375 said...

Well said, whatever. Since fiber is so close to being unlimited bandwidth, it isn't costing EPB a single cent more to offer the service. They'll just be raking in the bucks for people who want to pay for it.

September 13, 2010 at 4:56 p.m.
sunnydelight said...

I love my EPB fiber optic internet, phone & TV . Thank you EPB for giving me a choice and great service for a fair price. Seems some people won't be happy until they can get everything in life for free. Maybe when they work for free that will happen.

September 13, 2010 at 5:14 p.m.
my2cents said...

The EPB is Rich with the ratepayers money and Chattanooga government needs to spend it. Who financed this boondogle? The ratepayer of course. EPB will get gigabit internet and remote meters which will allow them to read your meter remotely. That way the EPB can contribute to the recession by laying off some meter reader who will have no job. The EPB has one of the highest rates in the TVA service area. This is more "government out of control".

September 13, 2010 at 5:23 p.m.
whatever said...

Let me get this straight, you want a pointless government job when technology can render it obsolete? Mmkay.

Also, the Surplus Cash is a result of the Cable and Telephone companies suing them, and thus EPB being unable to cut checks to pay the fiber companies to do their jobs. So they sensibly kept it in the bank, then waited till the courts finally told the private companies to stop screwing the people with their obstructionism.

Complain about their rates if you wish, but do you know how many citizens are in places where they want high-speed internet but can't get it because none of the companies are stepping up to the plate? More than you might think. EPB is acting in the interests of the public here, and if you think that's out of control, well, you've shown you'd rather keep a meter reader doing a government job than invest in better technology.

September 13, 2010 at 5:33 p.m.
FM_33 said...

Yes the CIA is moving moving the internet hook up from Signal Mountain to the valley at last. This also shows the invisible government at it's best and our tax dollars at work.

September 13, 2010 at 5:45 p.m.
Soos54 said...

All I have to say is, while I don't have EPB services, I have benefited from them being here - government or not. Last week, when the DirectTV guy came to install my dish at my new place, I asked him to put it off to the side which required extra work and trenching but it would look better.

Guess what he did? He did it, happily. This has never happened to me in the many years I've been with DirectTV.

After he left, then guess what happened? A quality control supervisor knocked on my door and asked how the install went, even asked to see the work he did. This too have never happened to me in the many years I've been with DirectTV.

This is what happens when competition comes to an area - companies are pushed to provide better prices and better service. Now Comcast and AT&T will be pushed to provide faster service.

How can this hurt anyone?

September 13, 2010 at 5:48 p.m.
jd said...

I'm not sure why people think this is expensive. To get equal speed from DSL or cable (and you can do it), you'd be paying $3,000 a month. Via T3 or optic fibre, you'd be paying $2,000 a month. Yes $350 a month is a lot, if all you want is a network connection, but put it in perspective and there's no commercial vendor out there capable of competing.

I'm actually very impressed by this experiment. It might well work for some at-home businesses, as you'd be spending far more to get comparable speed at a data center and you'd have far more freedom in setting the machine up. Not sure it will really take off with home users, though. It might.

September 13, 2010 at 5:54 p.m.
Tax_Payer said...

Chattanooga should just go ahead and be a WIFI city if EPB wants to boast how up-to-date it is. Maybe Mayor Littlefield can work something out for all of it's citizens before the next recall goes through.

September 13, 2010 at 5:57 p.m.
olddude said...

If I wanted to get it I couldn't. My Apartment Mgr. said she thought the apt. had a contract with Comcast that prohibited it. But she will not check and see and return calls from me for an answer.

September 13, 2010 at 5:57 p.m.
whatever said...

You can stream a high resolution video of one. Very high.

September 13, 2010 at 6:09 p.m.
Amos_Ives_Root said...

Taxpayer, do you realize how much money the city would waste putting wifi equipment everywhere? And you claim to be for smaller government? How do you expect the city to pay for this? I have an idea: the IT department can return those 4 iPads you guys are so fond of talking about.

September 13, 2010 at 6:42 p.m.
junkedships said...

If fiber optics can achieve 5 terabyte through puts, then why not start everyone at 10 gigabytes for 10 bucks, and forget the "Megabyte" war. EPB would blow comcast out of the water.

September 13, 2010 at 8:43 p.m.
deltenney said...

This is just to benefit EPB to feather their cap internationally for bragging rights. It is not intended for ordinary consumers. Yet they ran their power lines willy-nilly throughout the community, not all underground as promoted. This is another self-serving, political, corporate example of how the middle class is being used to promote the aspirations of the powerful. The expected rate says it all. As far as I am concerned, they can take their gigs and shove them.

September 13, 2010 at 8:58 p.m.
whatever said...

I'd like to know how much speed end users can expect once they hop of the city's fiber backbone. I promise you that you will not be pushing a gig to all your favorite web/ftp/torrent/etc sites.

I haven't noticed any significant problems in the jump off, sure Given Server X may not pump things out any faster, but if I'm doing things with Servers Y, Z, and W, it's still good.

But I don't have the 1 gig service, and I'm not dumb enough to think I need it, so I'm just talking about the level I purchased.

If they're slacking somewhere, it's not apparent to me. Which doesn't mean somebody else couldn't run into problems, but maybe EPB will fix it if a problem does crop up.

September 13, 2010 at 9:12 p.m.
rolando said...

" many citizens are in places where they want high-speed internet but can't get it because none of the companies are stepping up to the plate?"

whatever, you hit that exactly right.

EPB tells me I can now hook up and I can't get rid of comcast, bellsouth/ATT and DishNetwork thievery fast enough. Competition is wonderful. All of a sudden those three are offering everything in the world to keep me but it is too late. If they had done that 2-3 years ago, I would stick.

I have been with ATT since they were part of the Bell System pre-breakup. Fifty-four bucks a month for a lousy phone...

Now what we need is a trash pickup that will break Allied Wastes' back. Every quarter, without fail since they took over, their rates have gone up...usually with "admin fees" and those "Fuel cost" thingees.

Oh well. Rant=OFF

September 13, 2010 at 10:07 p.m.
KerryHatcher said...

$350 for 1Gbit connection? I'm going start looking at possibly moving our business to Chattanooga. We currently pay $200 a month for 30Mbit, I'd get more but for fiber here it is $100 per Mbit. So the same service here would be $1,000 a month. From a business standpoint (especially a tech biz) this is a huge deal and a massive incentive to relocate. I'd love to get a 2Gbit connection, for the amount of uploading and downloading to our data center the cost of wasted time would be well worth it.

-Kerry Hatcher

September 13, 2010 at 10:16 p.m.
whatever said...

Well we've got plenty of buildings you can use for offices.

September 13, 2010 at 10:31 p.m.
Tax_Payer said...


Just about everyone in Chattanooga uses a computer. Aside of raising taxes and wasteful spending, I feel that citywide WIFI will be an attractant to have people move into the downtown area occupying those empty condos and such. As a result, more services will be paid for like water and electricity and so on.

Small businesses already use WIFI to lure in people, so I feel it will help Chattanooga beef up it's population and revenue.

September 14, 2010 at 11:53 a.m.
Amos_Ives_Root said...


Surely, you are joking? The city has been robbed for millions by condo developers already. Now you want the city to spend millions to install wireless internet, a technology that is in no way finished developing? To sell condos?

After you complain, and want a recall of the Mayor, because the city raises your property taxes a little to pay for basic city services?

You are an ass, sir.

September 14, 2010 at 9:28 p.m.
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