EPB, also known as the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, is an American electric power distribution and telecommunications company owned by the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 2010, EPB was the first company in the United States to offer 1 Gbit/s high-speed internet, over 200 times faster than the national average. On October 15, 2015, Chattanooga implemented the world's first community-wide 10-gig Internet service, available to all homes and businesses in EPB's service area.
In 1935, an act of the Tennessee Legislature established EPB as an independent board of the City of Chattanooga to provide electric power to the Greater Chattanooga area. Today, EPB remains one of the largest publicly owned electric power distributors in the country. EPB serves more than 170,000 homes and businesses in a 600-square-mile (1,600 km2) area that includes greater Chattanooga and Hamilton County, portions of surrounding Southeastern Tennessee counties and areas of north Georgia.
EPB is also providing its gigabit internet service in the Chattanooga Airport, where visitors enjoy free high-speed Wi-Fi service. They set up a demonstration area in the former gift shop. EPB also provides free high-speed Wi-Fi in Miller Plaza. EPB is also one of the largest providers of electric power in the US. EPB has petitioned the FCC to allow them to deliver internet to communities outside of the 600 square mile area that they service. Nineteen states in the US have laws that make it difficult or impossible for utility companies to deliver internet outside of the area that they service.
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When EPB first turned on the fiber-optic network for internet, customers were getting up to ten times the speed to which they were accustomed. Even those with lower-priced internet tiers saw their speeds nearly double. The service now has reached up to 10 Gbit/s. Using fiber-optic technology is much cheaper, since the price of internet went down almost $300 per month when they started using the new technology.
Using a 100% fiber-optic communication network as its backbone, EPB has created a Smart Grid. The grid is a next-generation electric system that includes communication capabilities designed to reduce the impact of power outages, improve response time, and allow customers greater control of their electric power usage. This same fiber optic backbone allows EPB to offer high-speed Internet, TV, and phone service to business and residential customers in the service area. In September 2010, EPB became the first company in the United States to offer one gigabit-per-second Internet speed, a critical component of next generation technology innovation and economic development, to more than 175,000 homes and businesses. This exclusive capability has attracted worldwide attention and earned Chattanooga the nickname "Gig City."