Chattanooga, TN is a small safe-haven of the South that supports dreamers and millennials at a pace that rivals larger cities in more progressive parts of the country. The migration of entrepreneurs and major corporations into the Chattanooga area has created an economic culture of growth and sustainability that is rare to find in the struggling markets of the South. Among one of the biggest players helping to stimulate the city’s growth beyond other struggling southern markets is Chattanooga’s EPB, a local 100% fiber-optic based government broadband provider.

So who is EPB? Here is an excerpt directly from “About EBT“:

Established as an independent board of the City of Chattanooga in 1935, EPB is a municipally-owned utility that provides electric power and fiber optic communications services as a means of striving to achieve OUR MISSION, which is to promote economic development and enhance quality of life across the local area.

EPB serves more than 170,000 homes and businesses in a 600 square-mile area that includes greater Chattanooga, as well as parts of surrounding counties and areas of North Georgia. In 2010, EPB became the first provider in the United States to deliver up to 1 Gig (1,000 Mbps) internet speeds utilizing a community-wide fiber optic network that provides access to every home and business in its service area. In 2015, EPB became the first (and to date) only American ISP to make up to 10 Gig (10,000 Mbps) internet speeds accessible to all of its residential and commercial customers as a standard offer.

EPB has also utilized its community-wide fiber optic network to deploy the most advanced and highly automated smart grid power management system in the nation. In recognition of EPB’s groundbreaking infrastructure, the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are utilizing EPB’s smart grid as a national model for researching and developing best practices. EPB is also the first major power distribution utility to earn the USGBC’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid.

As you can see, EPB is the first and currently the only of it’s kind. The opportunities that are available to Chattanoogan residence are vastly more advanced than the rest of the country just based on access alone. Chattanooga understood the power of the internet as it related to the development and growth of their residents and business owners. So how does all of this relate to Net Neutrality and the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai? Let’s get into it…

On December 14, 2017 at 10:30AM EST LIVE on C-SPAN, FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai will make a move to repeal Obama-era regulations that protect the internet from being privatized by powerful telecom corporations. Those regulations, known as Net Neutrality, are meant to stop corporations from discriminatorily throttling speeds of American citizens and small businesses. While this one issue may not seem like a large move in the wrong direction at first sight, I assure you that the implications of rogue corporations retaliating or silencing competition are surely at hand.

Can you imagine Comcast deciding that you or your business aren’t paying enough to afford higher broadband speeds so you’re stuck looking at the “spinning wheel of death” every time you try to load any webpage? The slow down in productivity in our emerging face-paced economy could be crippling to entrepreneurs and small business owners, therefore stifling local economic growth and knee-capping our next generation of technological users. Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, doesn’t seem to mind knee-capping the next generation of technological users in America as he continues to seemingly adhere to the bidding of the large telecom corporations.

Although tens of millions of Americans have contacted the FCC in regards to this epic decision to destroy the internet for most Americans who aren’t afforded multiple options in their market, Ajit Pai has disregarded the will of the people every chance he gets.Ajit Pai’s continued mockery of those who stand to lose the most with this unprecedented transfer of wealth and power is very telling of his intentions and steadfast will to serve those corporations that he’s previously represented. Do not let Ajit Pai’s words deceive or confuse you… Ajit Pai wants to do nothing other than destroy the internet for the purpose of economic control and future political persuasion.

In short, Chattanooga’s EPB is not in direct competition with the “big guys”. EPB is separate from Comcast, Verizon, and all the other major national players. Through EPB’s commitment to community, excellence, sustainability, and growth they have managed to build the best fiber-optic based broadband network in the country that is now 100% free from the bureaucracy of Washington DC.

In securing the best broadband network in the country, Chattanooga also did one other thing that is rarely talked about… They provided and continue to support HUNDREDS of high paying jobs! A call-center tech with little to no experience can start out at $15/hr or better in a community where some rent/mortgage payments are still as low as $400 a month. While the rest of the country struggles to bring new companies to their failing communities, Chattanooga’s EPB has dodged economic peril by providing an quality essential service to it’s residents while employing those same users of it’s services.

The effect that municipally owned broadband companies could have on large national telecom corporations control over the internet could be extremely significant if Chattanooga’s EPB is any example. Although Comcast tried to fight Chattanooga and stop it’s venture into broadband telecommunications, they were squarely defeated and EPB has proven to be the best alternative option to the rising cost of national telecom companies. In the 3.5 years that I’ve lived in Chattanooga, EPB’s growth and customer loyalty is something that national telecom companies could only dream of. The quality of internet and cable television is so good that users of EPB occasionally brag to their neighbors that they DO NOT have Comcast, Charter, DirectTV, or any of the other providers in the area.

So what does all of this mean after December 14th? If Ajit Pai is successful in getting what he and his controllers want, most of the country will be put back to the stone ages overnight in regards to speed and access of the internet. As I previously mentioned, the societal effects would be tremendously devastating. To counteract what the FCC plans to do to the internet, cities and states should stand behind law-making measures that would allow them to create the same kind of experience that Chattanoogans get to enjoy on a daily basis. Tell your local leaders and law-makers to study the effect that EPB has had in Chattanooga. If we can’t beat the FCC by influence we must defeat them by not supporting their tyranny, and by building locally supported infrastructure that serves the needs of the community instead of the big corporations.

Thank you for your time. Drop me a comment below if you’ve enjoyed this article. ~Sincere #ARM #AllRightsMatter

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  • Rhonda Ramsey

    Thank you,Sharaud!!