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EPB to Tennesseans: Your Voice is Path to Broadband Deployment


Chattanooga, TN (August 16, 2016) – While more than 800,000 Tennesseans currently cope without access to broadband connectivity (at least 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload), EPB encourages Tennessee neighbors to remain optimistic and make their voices heard about the future state of internet availability for all.

Despite the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recent reversal of the FCC’s 2015 ruling that allowed municipal broadband providers to make services available to neighboring communities, EPB is encouraged by a year of positive movement in the state and recent findings from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Since last fall, the movement to make high-speed broadband available throughout the state has picked up steam with over four thousand petition signatures, dozens of events and strong support from both Democrat and Republican Tennessee lawmakers.

Issued in July, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s broadband study reports the sobering fact that more than 800,000 Tennesseans do not have access to minimum broadband speeds (25 Mbps/3Mbps) and that rural areas are the most disadvantaged by the broadband gap. 

The report also includes good news for Tennesseans who want to join the 21st Century connected economy.

  • Fiber optic connectivity is the fastest, most reliable and highest rated by households and businesses in Tennessee by a wide margin.
  • High-speed internet access remains a top deciding factor for businesses choosing where to locate.
  • A key recommendation is to ensure that all communities have broadband access in 3-5 years.
  • In order to spur investment by promoting competition, the State of Tennessee can foster an open regulatory environment to allow any entity to build telecommunications infrastructure and offer broadband services.  
  • States, municipalities, communities and regions that want to impact economic development must build 21st Century infrastructure.

“Ultimately, Tennessee’s broadband gap is a problem for Tennesseans, and we need a Tennessee solution,” said David Wade, president of EPB. "We will continue to work with the growing number of state legislators and grassroots citizens interested in removing the barriers that prevent EPB and other municipal providers from serving our neighbors in surrounding areas who have little or no access to broadband. We are further encouraged by Commissioner Randy Boyd’s interest in addressing the lack of broadband in rural areas. As the head of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, he is especially well positioned to join with state lawmakers in addressing this challenge on behalf of Tennesseans.”

For more information about the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s broadband study, visit TNECD.com

For more information about the effort to connect all Tennesseans to high-speed broadband, visit TN4Fiber.org.

About EPB

Established as an independent board of the City of Chattanooga in 1935, EPB is a municipally-owned utility that provides electric power and fiber optic communications services as a means of promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life across the local area. 

EPB serves nearly 180,000 homes and businesses in a 600 square-mile area that includes greater Chattanooga, as well as parts of surrounding counties and areas of North Georgia. 

In 2010, EPB became the first provider in the United States to deliver up to 1 Gig (1,000 mbps) internet speeds utilizing a community-wide fiber optic network that provides access to every home and business in its service area. In 2015, EPB became the first (and to date) only American ISP to make up to 10 Gig (10,000 mbps) internet speeds accessible to all of its residential and commercial customers as a standard offer. 

EPB has also utilized its community-wide fiber optic network to deploy the most advanced and highly automated smart grid power management system in the nation. In recognition of EPB’s groundbreaking infrastructure, the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are utilizing EPB’s smart grid as a national model for researching and developing best practices. EPB is also the first major power distribution utility to earn the USGBC’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid.

About the Tennessee Fiber Optics Communities

The Tennessee Fiber Optic Communities are seven municipal utility companies throughout Tennessee that have led the U.S. in building fiber-to-the-home networks. We stand ready to partner with the Tennessee Legislature, local governments, and the people of Tennessee to expand upon the successful track record of delivering world-class technology to Tennesseans through proven business models.

 


August 16, 2016


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