Launch of a 25 gigabyte Internet service in Chattanooga, Tennessee
- An internet company has launched a 25 gigabit community service in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
- The company claims it is the first network of its kind in the United States and the fastest community Internet service in the country.
- The service expects to offer better upload and download speeds, which can improve things like video conferencing or telehealth appointments.
It’s a bird. It’s an airplane. It’s the fastest community internet service in the country, and it’s heading to a city and a convention center in Tennessee.
EPB, a Chattanooga-based internet, television, telephone and energy company, has launched 25 gigabit per second community internet service. The service will be available to all residential and business customers in the region and is operated by a 100% fiber optic network, EPB said in a press release on August 24.
“What we’ve done is basically install a community-wide fiber to the home and a fiber to the corporate network, so that every premise, home, and business has a fiber going straight to the facility or to the home,” said J.Ed. Marston, vice president of strategic corporate communications.
The move comes after the EPB first launched its high-speed internet service in 2010 and then its 10-gigabyte internet service in 2015.
The latest service to launch covers a service area of 600 square miles, he said.
Prices start above $1,000 per month for Residents
EPB said it would charge $1,500 per month for 25-gigabyte home Internet service and $12,500 per month for business service.
“While 25 gigabytes are available to all commercial and residential customers within our 600 mile zone, they are best used today in commercial applications with very high bandwidth requirements (hundreds or thousands of devices of simulcast),” wrote EPB public relations specialist Sophie. Moore in an email.
The company expects the price to decline as the rest of the market catches up, she said.
What does 25 gigabyte Internet mean for the user?
The first venue to have a 25-concert service as part of a community network is the Chattanooga Convention Center, EPB announced. It will enable thousands of visitors to connect electronics at events such as business conferences, online gaming competitions and live streaming events.
“People who attend conferences at the Chattanooga Convention Center…they won’t have that experience that we’ve all had when you’re in a crowded room and can’t get a signal at all, or it’s super slow and dies before you can get to the web page you want to view,” Marston told USA TODAY.
EPB said its 25 gigabyte internet service comes with symmetric upload and download speeds. In other words, users will be able to upload and download high resolution images and videos without any hassle.
The FCC’s current national standard for broadband bandwidth is 25 megabits per second for downloads and 3 megabits per second for uploads, Steve Corbató, executive director of Link Oregon, a nonprofit organization that connects the public and non-profit sectors to broadbandsaid USA TODAY.
One gigabit equals 1,000 megabits, so updating the standard to one gigabit could result in a 40x increase in download speeds and more than a 300x increase in upload speeds, he said.
Corbató thinks the pandemic has exposed how bad internet access is in some communities, and service providers historically haven’t taken upstream bandwidth as seriously because they viewed the internet as a means of simply “provide content”.
“Connection speed really matters,” he said. “It really allows people to have high quality video conferencing. In terms of telehealth, it allows for higher resolution imaging, which is important for remote diagnosis.”
A home for internet inclusion
Angela Siefer, executive director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, said Chattanooga made its Pioneers of digital inclusion list every year since they launched it in 2016. The list includes local government initiatives that promote digital literacy and broadband access for underserved residents.
The list is based on six indicators, including whether the local government has a digital inclusion plan and has tried to increase the affordability of home broadband service. Chattanooga hit all six indicators, Siefer said.
“They think about it in a way that not everyone does,” she said. “(We care) about equitable internet access, so we’re not really excited about the difference between 10 and 25 gigs. What we’re excited about is everyone having access to everything they need. need.”
The Importance of Internet Connectivity and Fiber Optic Networks
Corbató, of Link Oregon, said the EPB benefits from being the city’s electric utility company. They gain access to people’s homes through power supplies.
“By putting the fiber there, it makes the kind of natural increase in speed that happens as the electronics accelerate that much easier,” he said. “I think cities that have abundant fiber, and in the case of homes that bring fiber to the house, they’ll be in a better position.”
He said the federal government was investing heavily in broadband, so similar projects could spring up in other cities.
Some cities are already making strides to improve their connectivity, he said, such as Ammon, Idaho. In the 2000s, the city built its own fiber optic cable network, giving residents access to the internet for around $9.99 a month, according to US News and World Report.
“It’s really important that all Americans get the level of Internet connectivity that allows them to participate in the digital society and the digital economy,” Corbató said.
Saleen Martin is a reporter on USA TODAY’s NOW team. She’s from Norfolk, Virginia – the 757 – and loves all things horror, witches, Christmas and food. Follow her on Twitter at @Saleen_Martin or email him at [email protected].