Chattanooga, TN (Jan. 22, 2021) – Newly-released, independent research documents $2.69 billion in community benefit during the first ten years since EPB of Chattanooga built America’s first Gig-speed community-wide network and used it to establish the nation’s most advanced smart grid power distribution system.
“Chattanooga’s smart city infrastructure was designed as a platform to give our customers the power to do more,” said David Wade, EPB President & CEO. “From education and innovation to job creation, it’s amazing to see how our customers are realizing possibilities we could only imagine ten years ago.”
The new study was conducted by Bento Lobo, Ph.D., head of the Department of Finance and Economics at the Rollins College of Business at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
“The true economic value of the fiber optic infrastructure for EPB’s customers is much greater than the cost of installing and maintaining the infrastructure,” Dr. Lobo said. “Our latest research findings show that Chattanooga’s fiber optic network provides additional value because it provides high speeds, with symmetrical uploads and downloads, and a high degree of network responsiveness which are necessary for the smart grid and other cutting-edge business, educational and research applications.”
Key Community Benefits from Chattanooga’s Advanced Infrastructure:
Fiber in the time of COVID-19
As national stories swirled about the possibility that the COVID crisis would “break the internet” and YouTube and other video providers actually reduced the resolution of their content in some markets, EPB’s fiber optic network has proven more than equal to the challenge of transitioning to remote work, on-line education, and telehealth.
In comparing a typical pre-COVID day (March 4, 2020) to a typical COVID day (December 14, 2020), EPB has seen a 75% increase in the total volume of Internet Bandwidth Usage over the course of the day. In a very real sense, many companies (and schools) have “outsourced” the traffic that once flowed across their internal networks to Chattanooga’s community-wide internet.
EPB has also seen a 64% increase in Peak Bandwidth Usage which still occurs during the “Prime Time” hours of the evening and is correlated to more video streaming. Because Chattanooga has a fiber optic network, the community has been able to transition to more intensive internet bandwidth usage utilizing in-place infrastructure.
Additional Fast Facts: Community Benefits of Fiber Optics
EPB serves the greater Chattanooga area by providing world-class energy and connectivity solutions as a means of promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life for our community. We deliver electricity to more than 170,000 homes and businesses across our 600 square mile service area which includes most of Hamilton County as well as parts of surrounding counties in both Tennessee and Georgia. In 2010, EPB Fiber Optics, which offers internet, TV, and telephone services, 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 which is accessible 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.
EPB is an independent board of the City of Chattanooga which began serving customers in 1939. Visit EPB.com for more information.