EPB unleashes 25-Gig service... for $1,500 per monthEPB unleashes 25-Gig service... for $1,500 per month
The municipal fiber provider's new 25-Gig speed tier more than doubles the speed of its high-end tier. While the residential offering fetches $1,500 per month, the commercial version goes for $12,500.
August 25, 2022
After launching 1-Gig and 10-Gig broadband in recent years, municipal fiber service provider EPB has just unfurled a new billboard speed in Chattanooga, Tennessee: 25 Gbit/s.
Though there's currently little to no use for such speeds among everyday consumers, the residential version of the new offering can be had for the hefty price of $1,500 per month, plus the requisite wiring and routing gear. The commercial version of the service ramps up to $12,500 per month, an EPB official said in an email exchange with Light Reading.
"As with EPB's initial Gig internet offering, we expect prices will decrease as the rest of the market catches up," the official said.
Figure 1: J.T. Shankles, a field services technician with EPB, installs a Nokia 25G PON ONT.
By comparison, EPB's 1-Gig service starts at $67.99 per month, and its 10-Gig tier starts at $299.99. EPB's slowpoke speed tier – 300 Mbit/s – sells for $57.99 per month.
EPB said a partial goal of the 25-Gig launch is to keep the operator on the "cutting edge." But the early use case is distinctly commercial.
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Convention Center is an early customer of EPB's 25-Gig service. Hamilton County and the city have each earmarked $151,000 in infrastructure funding, for a total of $302,000, to cover the cost of installing new networking equipment and Wi-Fi access points throughout the convention center, and to cover the cost of providing multi-gig connectivity for the next five years, EPB said.
EPB also sees 25-Gig coming in handy for data centers, healthcare facilities and multi-tenant real estate buildings.
"In terms of residential use, the availability of 25 Gig service is still on the frontier of fiber optic technology," the company acknowledged.
Taking the multi-gig era to a new level
But it also sets a bar in a time in which Internet service providers (ISPs) such as AT&T, Froniter Communications and Ziply Fiber are ramping up and expanding multi-gigabit broadband services. Comcast offers a symmetrical 2-Gig residential service over fiber called Gigabit Pro. It and other cable operators intend to offer multi-gig speeds on their hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks using DOCSIS 4.0.
EPB's deployment is based on Nokia's 25G PON technology. The municipal provider said it's enabling the new speeds using 25GS PON line cards inside the same fiber nodes and fiber used for its existing GPON and XGS-PON network. For the convention center deployment, EPB has also tapped Arista Networks to furnish Wi-Fi 6 gear and the vendor's multi-gig PoE campus switching platform.
EPB's not alone in the exploration of 25G PON technology. Frontier, for example, completed a 25G PON trial with Nokia in late 2021.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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