Driving Our Economy Forward: EPB Services
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — EPB isn’t your average electric power utility.
They’ve given Chattanooga the nickname the Gig City, providing the first community-wide gig speed Internet in the U.S.
EPB talked to News 12 about how they’re driving our economy forward.
“We were established as a municipal utility,” said J.Ed Marston, VP of Strategic Communication. “We initially provided electric power and we were responsible for building out the electric system in the Chattanooga area. And for many years we were like pretty much any other local electric power utility. But then in the mid-2000s we decided we were going to roll out a smart grid. And the way to make our Energy System smart was to build a fiber optic backbone that would allow the smart devices all across the community to communicate with each other. And while we were at it, it just made sense to provide Internet service, TV service, and telephone service to our customers as well. In 2009, we started serving customers with Internet, TV, telephone, fiber optic (the only fiber optic option in the area). And then in actually 2010, we went ahead and announced the first gig speed Internet in the United States. We were the very first community-wide gig speed Internet in the United States.”
Marston says EPB also supports their customers with solar.
“We have solar share, which is what’s called a community solar installation,” Marston said. “Any of our customers can license one of those solar panels for $3.50 per panel per month. So you can get as many as you want for $3.50 per month. And once you do that you get a credit on your bill equal to the amount that solar panel generated in any given month.”
The company has also recently rolled out a new product – Smartnet Plus.
“We all know that almost nobody actually plugs their devices into the Internet anymore, we’re almost all Wi-Fi all the time,” Marston said. “Smartnet Plus brings the latest technology, and that means the wire line connection, it passes through more of that to your Wi-Fi. It can support more devices at higher speeds, and we come out. And we custom install it which there are no other options for custom installation on your Wi-Fi here locally. So it’s a really great product, it has an app so you can manage it. You can do parental controls. You can provide temporary guest access. And it also has enhanced security.”