published Thursday, February 28th, 2013

CBS features Chattanooga’s gigabit network

CBS This Morning trained a spotlight on what network correspondent Jeff Glor called Chattanooga’s “inspiring comeback story, and a blueprint for the future.”

The network spent almost six minutes of airtime examining Chattanooga’s gigabit Internet revolution, which has propelled its network ahead of rivals to become the fastest in the western hemisphere.

“What fiber does is collapse time and space,” said Harold DePriest, president and CEO of city-owned utility EPB.

The morning anchors marveled at the city’s 10-year project, which was first conceived as a way to restore power outages faster. The average U.S. home gets about 5 megabits of speed. Chattanooga residents can access up to 1,000 megabits, or one gigabit of speed — 200 times faster than the average city.

“This isn’t something they came up with in a couple weeks or a couple months,” Glor said. “This took more than a decade to plan out and now, they’re seeing the fruits of their labor.”

Sheldon Grizzle, air traffic controller at The Company Lab said people have a hard time believing that Chattanooga could be a hot spot for innovation, but they eventually come around when they see it for themselves.

“For me, from an entrepreneural perspective, it’s really exciting because we see these teams that they would have never thought of locating here, now they call Chattanooga home,” Grizzle said. “Because we have an asset that they can build on, and they can’t do that anywhere else.”

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