Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
Content tagged with "EPB Fiber"Displaying 1 - 3 of 3
Knoxville Utilities Board remains on track to construct one of the biggest municipal broadband deployments ever attempted, and hopes to have delivered affordable fiber access to 55,000 Knoxville households and businesses before the end of the year.
In 2021, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the state Comptroller’s office signed off on the utility’s long percolating plan to build a $702 million million fiber network.
Once completed, the network will provide affordable fiber access to 214,000 households across KUB’s 688-square-mile service area spanning Knox, Grainger, Union, and Sevier counties.
20,000 KUB customers in Inskip, Morningside, Park City and other parts of East Tennessee have already received access to the network, which provides residential customers with symmetrical gigabit fiber for $65 a month, symmetrical 2.5 gigabit service for $150 a month, and symmetrical 10 Gbps for $300 a month.
Business customers currently receive the option of a symmetrical 500 megabits tier for $85 a month, a symmetrical gigabit tier for $150 a month, or a Custom Connect Pro plan tailored to specific business bandwidth and reliability needs.
Despite Covid-related supply chain challenges, officials say the project remains on time and within budget. An estimated 35,500 more households should receive access over the next few months, with 55,000 total customers connected before the end of the year. The utility is promising to track project progress via an online deployment map.
The Cleveland, Tennessee city council has approved the creation of the Cleveland Utilities Authority, the first step in allowing the city-owned utility to get into the broadband business. The goal: improve utilities services and provide city residents with faster, cheaper, and more reliable fiber access after years of neglect by often-apathetic regional telecom monopolies.
The plan, approved by the city council with a 7-2 vote (see full video here), paves the way for Cleveland’s city-owned utility, Cleveland Utilities, to begin deployment of a $72 million fiber network. The city’s plan, documented in detail here, is heavily inspired by the successes seen by Chattanooga, Tennessee’s publicly-owned utility, EPB.
Of the initial $72 million investment, $64 million will be funded by public-issued debt, and go towards construction of the network, which Cleveland Utilities states should begin in March of 2024 and be completed in “roughly two to three years” barring complications.
An additional interdivisional loan of $8 Million will fund three years of operation for the new division. The utility’s plan is based on a 30 percent take rate, and aims to become cash flow positive between years 2-3, with all debt paid between years 10 and 12.
Once complete, the network will dramatically upgrade the utility’s energy monitoring and maintenance capabilities and deliver symmetrical fiber at speeds of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) to local residents, and 10 Gbps to local area businesses.
There is a long-term solution to the broadband affordability gap that can be found in America’s first gig city. Thanks to Chattanooga’s wildly successful municipal broadband network, EPB Fiber, and its partnership with The Enterprise Center and Hamilton County Schools, over 15,000 low-income students in 8,500 households in Hamilton County are already getting a decade of free high-speed Internet service at no cost through a program known as HCS EdConnect.
It was borne out of the community’s response to the pandemic as local leaders looked to leverage an existing community asset to allow students to participate in distance learning, enable educators to expand educational opportunities outside the classroom, and support parents in pursuing their own professional and personal goals.
It’s an example of the one of the many benefits of having a locally-controlled, publicly-owned broadband network in which the infrastructure is seen as a public good like roads or a water system. It’s an approach that sees broadband infrastructure as something that should be accessible to everyone in the community and not used as a tool to simply benefit those who can afford it.
We wanted to visually document the power that HCS EdConnect has had in transforming the lives of program participants by weaving together a compilation of video diaries that will give you a glimpse of how a visionary municipal network made this Tennessee county more resilient in the face of the pandemic and ensured no one in their community was left on the wrong side of the digital divide.
Big Telecom Band-Aid or Local Long-Term Solution?