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

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EPB Field Services Technician J.T. Shankles installs the Nokia 25G PON Optical Network Termination (ONT).

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.“

“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. 

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. 

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. 

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.  

“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.

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