Originally published: April 27, 2011
Last updated: April 27, 2011 - 1:17pm
As the first US city to make 1Gbps fiber connections available to all, Chattanooga (TN) has been on the cutting edge of broadband deployment.
Even fiber's backers admit there aren't many uses for a full 1Gbps connection at the moment, but they make a "build it and they will come" argument; provide the bandwidth and uses will materialize. Besides, once you've laid the fiber -- why not roll out 1Gbps service? Chattanooga's fiber network currently covers all 600 square miles serviced by the community-owned Electric Power Board (EPB), which has also provided electricity for decades. EPB rolled out a 1Gbps upgrade to the network last fall, but it "hasn't been flooded with calls" for the service, says David Wade, Chief Operating Officer of EPB. Indeed, even this may be overstating current demand; only 6 or 7 Chattanooga residents and "several businesses" have ordered the high-end service, which launched with a $350 per month price tag. Those who have ordered face challenges; if they want to experience the full 1Gbps speed they're paying for, standard WiFi connections aren't fast enough. Some customers have switched to wired gigabit routers in order to access their full bandwidth.