The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is pleased to congratulate Chattanooga, Tennessee, for building the largest publicly owned, full fiber network in the United States. Chattanooga’s public power utility, EPB, began offering telephone, broadband, and television services on its new fiber-to-the-home network on September 15.
This broadband network will allow smart-grid applications for the electrical utility as well as offer local support, faster speeds for both uploading and downloading, and create a competitive environment for broadband.
Christopher Mitchell, the Director of the Telecommunications as Commons Initiative at ILSR was excited at the announcement. “Every year, we see more communities building what many companies refuse to: fiber-optic networks offering fast and affordable connections. This network will cut subscriber bills, increase broadband speeds, and create jobs.”
Mitchell is a national expert on publicly owned broadband networks. An author of several case studies and reports, he also maintains MuniNetworks.org, a web site that tracks news in the community network sector.
The United States has steadily fallen behind peer nations on international broadband rankings over the past decade, something Mitchell attributes to a lack of public investment in networks. “Too many communities have waited for the private sector to build this essential infrastructure even as most companies have found it insufficiently profitable to invest. To remain competitive internationally, we need the public sector to step up broadband investments.”
Mitchell has previously demonstrated that publicly owned networks offer some of the fastest broadband connections in the country, while keeping access affordable to all.
Though it will not be finished for a few years, Chattanooga’s broadband network already is already available to 17,000 people and businesses – a number that will expand to 100,000 within a year. More information about the new Chattanooga network is available on MuniNetworks.org.