Athens Utilities Board to add Gig with help from EPB

EPB worker David Handley installs a last inteliruptor, a device that reroutes electric power to prevent outages, in this file photo.

After nearly 10 months of contract negotiations, construction and labor, Athens Utilities Board is ready to offer fiber-optic broadband Internet service to area businesses and industries.

AUB is leasing fiber between Athens and Ooltewah through Volunteer Energy Cooperative [VEC]. The broadband signal is coming from Chattanooga's Electric Power Board [EPB], but the Athen utility extended its lines into Ooltewah to connect with the Chattanooga system.

"We have signed all agreements with VEC and EPB," AUB General Manager Eric Newberry told the AUB board last week.

Newberry confirmed the Athens utility has finished testing and there is a steady 1 gigabyte signal purchased by AUB on the system. He said from an economic development standpoint it "is a great day" to offer an alternative to supply broadband Internet through EPB.

"We