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19 October 2018 · 6 min. read

EPB Fiber Optics Reaches Milestone of Serving 100,000+ Customers

Chattanooga, TN (October 19, 2018) – About 9 years after EPB Fiber Optics brought service to its first residential customers in September 2009, the municipal utility that established Chattanooga as America’s First Gig City has exceeded 100,000 residential and business customers.

“EPB Fiber Optics is more than 100,000 neighbors strong,” said David Wade, president and CEO of EPB. “We are proud to provide world-class services that make it easier for our customers of all ages to learn and to get their work done and to enjoy their leisure time or even to build a company or develop cutting-edge technologies.”

In addition to providing the world’s fastest internet speeds, EPB’s 9,000-mile fiber optics network serves as the backbone for Chattanooga’s Smart Grid, which is the nation’s most advanced electric distribution system. In 2010, the community-wide fiber optics network allowed EPB Fiber Optics to become the first provider in the nation to make 1-gigabit per second (1,000 Mbps) internet services available to all residences and businesses across it 600-square mile service area. In 2015, EPB Fiber Optics upped the ante again by becoming the first, and to-date, only provider in the U.S. to offer 10-gigabit per second (10,000 Mbps) internet services available to all residences and businesses as a standard offer.

“Our fiber optics network is today’s locomotive that is driving Chattanooga’s success and positioning us as a model for other communities,” said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. “It is a powerful recruiting tool to attract new businesses that need reliable, high quality power and communications, as well as a catalyst for launching startups and expanding our existing businesses.”

“Gigabit-speed connectivity has unlocked the possibilities of online education for our young people and adults who want to advance their careers in our fast-changing, technology-driven world,” said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. “We are also on the forefront of advancing telemedicine so that more of our neighbors have access to health care services.”

According to EPB Board Chairman Joe Ferguson, EPB’s fiber optics deployment has exceeded all expectations. “As a board, we knew that deploying the community-wide fiber optics network would dramatically enhance our ability to serve the community as a local power company,” Ferguson said. “We also expected that the network would have a positive impact on education and economic development. For example, we thought the fiber optics network would help boost entrepreneurial activity, but we did not know it would be one of the major drivers in positioning Chattanooga nationally as a hotspot for technology start-ups, and there was no way we could have foreseen how Chattanooga’s Smart Grid would make us a hub for national research by the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and so many others.”

Since EPB Fiber Optics began serving customers, Chattanooga’s fiber optics network and smart grid have provided a number of community benefits:

  • Power Outage Reduction: The Smart Grid has reduced the incidence and duration of power outages by more than 285 million customer minutes. This is the result of reducing the incidence and duration of power outages by more than 50%. For a market the size of EPB’s service area, this is equivalent to saving customers more than $50 million per year by helping them avoid lost productivity, spoiled food, and other negative impacts.
  • Keeping electric rates lower: Each year, EPB Fiber Optics pays EPB Electric tens of millions of dollars for the use of the electric system’s fiber optics network and shared costs. These payments keep electric rates significantly lower for every EPB Electric customer whether they subscribe to fiber optics services or not.
  • Providing Millions of dollars for Local Schools and Local Government Services: EPB is by far the largest contributor to local schools and local government services with annual payments that have more than doubled since deploying the smart grid. EPB’s annual payments to Hamilton County, the City of Chattanooga, and other local governments now total $20.9 million annually. Since deploying the fiber optics network, EPB has paid more than $172 million for local schools and government services.
  • Serving as a catalyst for Job Creation: Prior to the deployment of Chattanooga’s fiber optics network, the community was not considered a hotspot for start-up activity. Since then, Chattanooga’s Gig Network along with successful efforts to attract investment for start-ups and entrepreneurial support from organizations like The Enterprise Center, Co.Lab, and the Hamilton County Business INCubator have combined to create a blossoming entrepreneurial environment where dozens of new start-ups are rapidly creating new jobs.

Additionally, Chattanooga’s fiber optics network serves as a living laboratory for EPB to work with the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other national laboratories and researchers to field-test new best practices and technologies including the utilization of a smart grid to dynamically manage renewable power generation, cutting-edge energy storage, power factor management, the establishment of and utilization of microgrids, the use of remote sensors, and more.

Big Gig Free Community Festival to Celebrate 100,000+ Customers

EPB is inviting the community to celebrate the milestone of exceeding 100,000 customers by attending “The EPB Big Gig Community Festival” at Miller Park on Saturday, October 20, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

During the EPB Big Gig, a portion of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, 10th Street and Georgia Avenue will be closed to motorized traffic to accommodate a variety of family friendly activities that include:

  • Live Music — featuring The Beaters, Masseuse, and Rare Coalition
  • College Football Zone — football jumbo screen & game day food available from Sticky Fingers
  • Lumberjack Show — performed by Timberworks
  • Chef Exhibitions — featuring 2 Sons Kitchen & Dish T’ Pass
  • Food trucks
  • Halloween Costume Contests — for children AND dogs
  • Kids Zone — Race Car Moon Walk, Obstacle Course, Wacky Slide, Berry Go Round, Games, free cotton candy

Free parking will be available in the EPB parking garage on a first-come, first-served basis, which can be accessed through the 10th Street entrance from either Broad or Market Streets. For more information and to see a full schedule, please visit

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 more than 170,000 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. For more information, go to

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