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Gigabit Cities

Gigabites: Wall Street Cheers EPB's Gig

The Friday Gigabit Roundup is back. In this edition, Chattanooga's EPB enjoys unprecedented support from Wall Street, Cox takes its gigabit to Louisiana and more.

  • Municipal broadband hasn't always had the best financial track record, but EPB Fiber Optics in Chattanooga, Tennessee is a notable success story. The utility company reported annual telecom service revenues of $118.2 million this week with $16.9 million in net income. And investors are falling over themselves to ensure that the success continues. In a bid to raise $260 million for a bond issue to refinance debt and generate new capital, EPB drew in more than three times that amount with investors lining up to offer $870 million. Chattanooga Mayer Andy Berke told Light Reading in May that he has "no desire to compete with any private entity so that we can provide HBO. That's not the point of our network." Berke and EPB are more interested in using the gigabit network to improve local business, education and government services. (See Chattanooga Charts Killer Gigabit Apps.)

  • Cox Communications Inc. was the first major US cable company to roll out a residential gigabit product, and it added to its roster of gigabit deployments this week with Gigablast service launches in select neighborhoods in Louisiana. The company already offers gigabit service in parts of Phoenix, Arizona, Orange County, California, Las Vegas and Omaha, Neb. It plans to blanket the Cox footprint with gigabit service by the end of 2016 and is currently transitioning its cable networks to all-digital video signals to free up bandwidth capacity. (See Cox Goes Gaga Over Gigabit and Prepping for D3.1, Cox Expands All-Digital .)

  • The cities of Durham and Greensboro, N.C. welcomed gigabit service this week from AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) with the official launch of U-verse with AT&T GigaPower in both regions. The Durham rollout is particularly significant as the culmination of a multi-city effort known as the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN) initiative. NCNGN, a public/private partnership, has also brought AT&T's gigabit service to the North Carolina communities of Cary, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Winston-Salem. (See AT&T GigaPower Wins Two NC Cities and Two US MSOs Boost Broadband Speeds.)

  • Just south of North Carolina, South Carolina also celebrated a gigabit win this week. Cable company Comporium Communications announced it has completed the latest round of deployments for its Zipstream gigabit service. Zipstream is now available in roughly two dozen Panhandle communities, and Comporium expects the service to cover more than 20,000 homes by the end of the year.

    — Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

  • DHagar 7/24/2015 | 5:41:41 PM
    Re: Not the best indicator msilbey, Chattanooga does seem to be an excellent example!  I think it is important for the future consistent development to have good examples of public infrastructure development and partnering with private industry on commercial use.

    The Mayor seems to have the right perspective that they are not trying to "compete" with the entertainment, but providing access and infrastructure to serve the public.  They do need to be profitable, but not profit motivated.
    msilbey 7/24/2015 | 3:44:23 PM
    Re: Not the best indicator I'll be in Chattanooga next week to see how its businesses are doing first-hand. The city has certainly done an amazing job of putting itself on the map with its network investments. 
    Mitch Wagner 7/24/2015 | 3:38:48 PM
    Not the best indicator Revenue is not the best indicator of government Internet projects. The purpose of government projects should no be to bring in revenue – they should be (as this article notes) improving quality of life and generating revenue for other businesses. 

    If an infrastructure service can be provided effectively at a profit, it should be provided in the private sector. 
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