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Adventures in superfast Internet, Chattanooga Choo Choo

In 1969, this mid-sized city in the middle of the US was named the most polluted city in the US. Some four decades later, it’s one of the few cities where you can get 1 GB Internet for USD 70 a month. This balanced article in the NYT, lays out the lessons.

But so far, it is unclear statistically how much the superfast network has contributed to economic activity in Chattanooga over all. Although city officials said the Gig created about 1,000 jobs in the last three years, the Department of Labor reported that Chattanooga still had a net loss of 3,000 jobs in that period, mostly in government, construction and finance.

EPB, the city-owned utility formerly named Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, said that only about 3,640 residences, or 7.5 percent of its Internet-service subscribers, are signed up for the Gigabit service offered over the fiber-optic network. Roughly 55 businesses also subscribe. The rest of EPB’s customers subscribe to a (relatively) slower service offered on the network of 100 megabits per second, which is still faster than many other places in the country.

It also talks about a city wide WiFi network that no longer is in use, displaced by 4G.

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