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24 August 2022 · 8 min. read

EPB Launches America’s First Community-wide 25 Gig Internet Service

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Aug. 24, 2022)—Continuing the focus on delivering the world’s fastest internet speeds that led Chattanooga’s municipal utility to launch America’s first comprehensively available Gig-speed internet service (2010) and the first 10-Gig internet service (2015), EPB has launched the nation’s first community-wide 25 gigabits per second (25,000 Mbps) internet service to be available to all residential and commercial customers over a 100% fiber optic network with symmetrical upload and download speeds.

Through a partnership with Hamilton County and the City of Chattanooga, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Convention Center is EPB’s first 25 Gig customer, making it the first convention center worldwide to offer such blazingly fast speeds over a broadband network. With this technology, the Convention Center will be able to simultaneously provide high bandwidth connectivity to thousands of smart devices to draw business conferences, e-gaming competitions, live streaming events and more.

“EPB is keeping Chattanooga on the cutting edge,” said Vicky Gregg, EPB Board Chair. “We are once again breaking the typical approach for internet service providers by proactively upgrading to the latest technologies in anticipation of future needs. Our goal is to enable new frontiers for technical innovation and job creation for our customers to the benefit of our whole community.”

Hamilton County and the City of Chattanooga have each dedicated $151,000 in infrastructure funding for a total of $302,000 to cover the cost of installing new networking equipment and Wi-Fi access points throughout the convention center as well as much of the cost of providing multi-gig connectivity for the next five years. Once the new equipment is installed, visitors will be able to benefit from high-speed connectivity throughout the facility.

“The new 25 Gig internet service gives our Convention Center a major competitive advantage in drawing business conferences, conventions, e-gaming competitions and other events that bring tens of thousands of visitors and many millions of dollars in spending into our local economy,” said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. “Throughout my time as Mayor, I’ve placed a primary focus on supporting new economic opportunities for the people of Hamilton County. I’m proud to stand with the Hamilton County Commission, the City of Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Tourism Co., the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and EPB in launching this new job creation tool which will serve our community for many years to come.”

“EPB has continuously pushed the boundaries of what a utility can do for a city, and by launching 25-gigabit per second internet service community-wide, we have solidified Chattanooga’s competitive advantage as the premier destination for the country’s emerging knowledge innovation economy,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. “This new, incredible resource will not only attract businesses, entrepreneurs, and top talent from across the globe, it will also increase quality of life for the tens of thousands of Chattanoogans who rely on high quality, top-speed internet for remote work. Simply said, this is an unprecedented boon for our local economy.”

The launch of the new internet service is made possible by EPB’s on-going, multi-year effort to upgrade the whole community-wide network from core to the optical networking equipment at customer locations with the latest optical signaling technology along with the deployment of Nokia’s ground-breaking symmetrical 25G PON (Passive Optical Network) fiber broadband technology. With Nokia 25 PON, EPB can provide 25 Gig internet services anywhere across its network while avoiding the need for one-off, point-to-point installations which other providers may offer only as customized design-build solutions for high-band width commercial customers. As a result, companies typically bear the high cost of running the necessary fiber cabling to their locations along with all other construction costs.

“Nokia and EPB have a proven track record over the past two decades of bringing fiber access innovations to meet the market needs. This announcement highlights how fiber broadband services are evolving beyond residential broadband,” said David Eckard, CTO North America at Nokia. “Businesses have an insatiable appetite for connectivity, driven in part by the pervasive use of video but also now by cloud-based applications requiring instant bandwidth. Providing business services on the same fiber network is an evolutionary and pragmatic use of their existing network assets, and 25G PON provides the immediate capacity uptick to be able to offer unparalleled bandwidth.”

In launching the 25 Gig internet service, EPB is also continuing to partner with Arista Networks, which is providing the equipment to upgrade the convention space to Wi-Fi 6 with multi-gig PoE campus switching platform. This will provide Conference Center visitors with high connection speeds on the wireless and wired networks. Arista's security capabilities which include WIPS (Wireless Intrusion Prevention System) coupled with IPFIX will ensure the security and protection of the visitor connections.

“Providing high network speeds, capacity and security at public venues can be very challenging,” said Pramod Badjate, Group Vice President and General Manager, Cognitive Campus for Arista Networks. “The partnership between Arista and EPB provides customers with high connection speeds and security for both wired and wireless networks.”

EPB launched its community-wide Gig-speed internet service in September 2010, quickly earning Chattanooga a reputation as “Gig City.” Today’s 25 Gig enhancement follows a 2015 upgrade which made Chattanooga the first to offer 10 Gig internet service accessible by everyone across a community. The latest upgrade uses 25GS PON (25 Gigabit Symmetrical Passive Optical Network) line cards incorporated into the same fiber nodes and uses the same fiber used for the existing GPON and XGS-PON network.

EPB's Gig-Speed internet has helped the Chattanooga region earn many prestigious accolades while boosting the community's rank among tech hot spots. Chattanooga was ranked number 36 in Inc.'s Surge Cities list of best cities in the country to start a business and was recognized as one of the top five growth markets for the meetings industry by Knowland and one of the South's Best Cities on the Rise by Southern Living Magazine.

"Many of the people who visit Chattanooga think of our reputation as the 'Scenic City,' but when they experience our 'Gig City' internet speeds combined with our scenery and lifestyle, many businesses and families want to stay," said Barry White, President and CEO of Chattanooga Tourism Co. "EPB's commitment to leading edge innovation is a lynchpin in our community's economic and social prosperity."

“For the world’s fastest internet and the nation’s most advanced smart city infrastructure, Chattanooga is the best place for companies to locate,” said Christy Gillenwater, President & CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. “EPB’s new 25 Gig internet represents a new platform to support companies in innovating and growing.”

“Connectivity continues to be a top priority for conventions because you need a great deal of bandwidth to support thousands of people using their smart devices at the same time,” said Mike Shuford, Executive Director of the Chattanooga Convention Center. “We’re also seeing an increased focus on hybrid virtual and in-person events, e-gaming and live streaming. Offering 25 Gig internet service will make Chattanooga stand out to conference planners and will eliminate the frustration of trying to communicate at a crowded convention or special event.”

Because nothing is faster than the speed of light and fiber optic lines are very durable, EPB was able to upgrade the optical networking equipment to deliver even faster internet speeds without having to replace the fiber optic lines which make up the bulk of the expense and construction effort for the initial deployment.

“EPB continues to serve as a national model and global leader for community broadband by demonstrating how fiber optic networks provide a winning business paradigm that significantly enhances job and economic activity, network resiliency and quality of life for generations to come,” said Gary Bolton, President and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association. “Upgrading the network and user experience from 1 Gig to 25 Gigs over the last 12 years is a testimony to the ‘future-proof’ nature of fiber and the foresight of EPB leadership.”

To learn more about EPB’s new 25 Gig internet service go to epb.com/gig25.

About EPB

EPB serves the people of the Chattanooga area with advanced smart city infrastructure to enable world-class energy and connectivity solutions that include the most resilient smart grid power distribution system in the United States and the fastest internet in the world. EPB gained national notice when it deployed a community-wide fiber optic network accessible to all its customers and used it to launch America’s first Gig-speed internet in 2010 (beating Google Fiber by 4 years) as well as the first 10 Gig internet service available as a standard offer to all residences and businesses in 2015.

EPB also utilized the fiber optic network as the communications backbone for deploying more than 200,000 smart switches, sensors and other devices to establish the most advanced and highly automated smart grid in the nation. As a result, the U.S. Department of Energy named EPB a living laboratory for pioneering smart grid technologies. Since then, EPB has partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and more than 20 other national research partners to play a critical role in more than $155 million in smart city research. EPB was also the first major power distribution utility to earn the GBCI’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid in 2015 and followed up in 2021 by re-certifying at PEER Gold.

EPB is an independent board of the City of Chattanooga which began serving customers in 1939. Visit epb.com for more information.

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