published Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

EPB picks new contractor for fiber-optic network contract

A good deal for EPB ratepayers will result in a bad deal for G4S Technology, which plans to lay off most of its Chattanooga-based staff as a result of a lost contract.

Formerly known as Adesta, G4S Technology was responsible for about 80 percent of EPB's home installations of its fiber-optic services. The company performed 500 installations per week in 2010, or 100 every day.

The local office flared brightly but burned out quickly, ramping up from a one-man office in 2009 to more than 120 workers a year later.

Now, there are just four remaining, according to Lisa Kaiser, human resources manager for G4S Technology, which claims to be the world's third-largest private employer after Wal-mart and Foxconn.

EPB is completing a $220 million installation of a fiber-optics network to improve its own electricity grid and to offer gigabit-per-second Internet service and other telecommunication options throughout its 600-square-mile territory.

Ultimately, G4S was undone by one of its own subcontractors, which underbid the company for the right to continue the installations for the next three years, said Deborah Dwyer, an EPB spokeswoman.

"FiCom submitted the lowest bid, which we accepted," Dwyer said.

The good news for the company's former workers, she added, is that FiCom hired most of the employees affected by the change.

"Our understanding is the majority of G4S employees now work for FiCom," Dwyer said.

about Ellis Smith...

Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...

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