published Friday, September 5th, 2014

EPB works to meet SEC network demand

With TV coverage of the Tennessee game this weekend confined to the SEC network, Vols football fans without a high-end cable package will be forced to watch the contest at a bar or a buddy's house.

That is, unless they're willing to put up with a little late-night ruckus.

For those who don't mind having their sleep interrupted by the cable guy, EPB is offering to perform round-the-clock installations of its Fi TV Gold package -- which includes the coveted SEC network -- between now and the big game against Arkansas State on Saturday.

Fans who live in single-family homes can skip the six-day wait and have their TV set up to receive the SEC network as long as they're willing to be awake for the installation, said EPB spokesman John Pless. But those who live in apartments and condos with strangers on the other side of a wall will have to wait, as the sound of late-night drilling can negatively impact relationships with neighbors.

"Most people would not want people drilling and fishing in walls at 3 o'clock in the morning, but there are some people who do, and who work different shifts, and have the expectation that they can have their services installed for the big game," Pless said.

Many of the utility's dispatchers and installers have volunteered to sleep in their vans and work in shifts throughout the night in order to secure overtime and bring the joys of Tennessee football to homes throughout the Chattanooga area. EPB has more than 100 installers ready to work, though its unclear how many will volunteer for the graveyard shift.

Comcast and AT&T also offer SEC packages to their Xfinity and U-verse subscribers, though EPB says it is one of only a few to offer the so-called "overflow channel," on which Saturday's Tennessee will be broadcast, in high-definition on channel 384.

The overflow channels are 329 and 803 HD on Charter, 1608-1610 on AT&T U-Verse, 611-1 on DirecTV and 596-599 on Dish Network. Comcast Xfinity's overflow channels for the SEC Network will be 391 HD and 786.

EPB began putting out the word Thursday to several hundred customers who are already waiting for an installation, but new customers are also welcome to call EPB and get in on the deal -- provided they do so before Friday at 7 p.m.

"We know most folks are not up at 2 a.m., but for customers who are serious enough about watching the Vols in HD to schedule an after-hours appointment, EPB Fiber Optics will work straight through the night to install as many people as possible," EPB President Harold DePriest said.

EPB, which doesn't charge an installation fee, recently increased its number of residential subscribers to more than 60,000.

Contact staff writer Ellis Smith at 423-757-6315 or esmith@timesfreepress.com with tips and documents.

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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