Tennessee’s Municipal Electric Systems Asking Legislature To Remove Broadband Restrictions

The Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association (TMEPA) is seeking to end Tennessee’s constraint on municipal electric broadband “so that communities can choose their internet providers and to give more Tennesseans access to the fastest broadband speeds in the country.”

TMEPA consists of the state’s 60 municipal systems which serve 2.1 million homes and businesses, or 70 percent of Tennessee’s electric customers.   TMEPA is supporting legislation (SB1134 HB1303) that removes the current limitation on municipal electric broadband providers that restricts broadband service to just its electric service territory.  This change in the law would allow municipal electric broadband to expand to more areas where it is needed if those communities want it, the group said.  Continue reading

Phoenix Questions Chattanooga as Muni Role Model

Downtown of Chattanooga, Tennessee

Downtown of Chattanooga, Tennessee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When it comes to municipal broadband successes, Chattanooga, Tenn., may not be the best example to cite in support of allowing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to preempt state laws that ban or restrict competition from community broadband, according to a recent report published by the Phoenix Center. Chief economist George S. Ford, who authored the report, says this perspective, which has been touted by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and the White House, does not account for Chattanooga’s unique circumstances.

Ford says the Chattanooga experience is not easily replicated elsewhere. Chattanooga‘s broadband system is constructed and maintained by the city’s municipal electric utility, which benefitted from $229 million in revenue bonds and a $50 million construction loan. Only 14 percent of Americans are served by government-owned electric utilities, usually present in rural markets where there are very high network deployment costs. Continue reading

Chattanooga Announces Nation’s Only 150 Mbps Residential Internet Offer

Chattanooga Area 10 Years Ahead of FCC’s National Broadband Plan

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., June 3 /PRNewswire/ — EPB Fiber Optics, Chattanooga’s municipally-owned fiber-to-the-home network, announced it will introduce a 150 Mbps symmetrical residential Internet product later this month. EPB Fiber Optics’ product, Fi-Speed Internet 150, will be the only offer of its kind in the U.S.

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