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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Soon you can download an HD movie in one second in this city



Broadband Internet technology is improving quickly, so much so that soon you’ll be able to download a full-length HD movie in less than a second.

The problem? It will cost you $300 a month for speeds that fast. And you have to move to Chattanooga, Tenn.

Chattanooga’s publicly owned Internet utility ESB (also the city’s electric utility) is increasing speeds 10-fold, according to the Washington Post, and that includes offering customers a 10-gigabit-per-second plan. Already, some of the fastest Internet in the country is available to residents there. Here’s more from the Post:

"Chattanooga is best known among tech wonks as the city that was selling Google Fiber-like speeds to its residents years before Google Fiber was even a thing. As Google, Comcast and other players have built out their own next-gen networks, however, Chattanooga has forged ahead again. In addition to the 10 Gbps residential service, the city's electric utility, EPB (which also manages the public broadband service) has also begun offering 3 Gbps and 5 Gbps plans to business customers. EPB declined to disclose the price of those rates.

"Just looking at the 10 Gbps plan for $300 a month, though, it's clear that EPB is trying to undercut some of the nation's biggest providers on price. Comcast's Gigabit Pro charges customers the same price as EPB, but maxes out at "only" 2 Gbps - a fraction of what Chattanooga's offering."

Chattanooga's model is one to keep an eye on. While most cities have been happy to allow Comcast and other Internet giants dominate local broadband services, the mid-sized Tennessee city has chosen to offer super high-speed Internet to its citizens at discounted rates. It's widely popular, has made the Internet accessible and affordable to most residents and has led to a mini-tech boom in Chattanooga.

Predictibly, large Internet providers aren’t happy with it and have tried to halt it and compete against it. Chattanooga scored a victory earlier this year when the FCC said the state can’t prevent the city-owned ESB from expanding to other parts of Tennessee.

Will more cities follow the path laid out by Chattanooga? It’s something to watch as Internet becomes a basic necessity for everyday life.

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 12:09pm]


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