On Tuesday, September 15, EPB, the public power utility serving Chattanooga and nearby communities in Tennessee, rolled out fully fiber-powered triple-play services to 17,000, a number expected to grow by July 2010, when services will be available to some 100,000 people and businesses. It will take three years before all 160,000 potential subscribers are passed.
Chattanooga has had a relatively rough time creating the network due to the litigious nature of its incumbents, who have filed 4 lawsuits to stop the project only to have each of them dismissed by the courts. (This is a predictable outcome, many of these companies file frivolous lawsuits to intimidate communities with lost time and legal fees - leading to a no-lose situation for companies that invest more in lawyers than in the networks communities need in the modern economy.)
Prices and Options
All broadband speeds are symmetrical; prices by month
|15 Mbps and basic phone
|15 Mbps / basic phone / basic cable
|15 Mbps/ phone & 120 min long distance / 77 Channels
Caveats: an extra $5.99 a month for HD Capability on the TV, but even the basic phone package comes with caller ID and 3-way calling
The Tennessee Cable and Telecommunications Association kicked off the lawsuits in 2007 and Comcast chimed in a year later. As has been done in other communities, the private companies alleged the power utility was cross-subsidizing its triple-play telecom offering with revenues from the electric side. Aside from this just being a poor business practice, the companies say such cross-subsidization would be unfair to them even as major carriers routinely cross-subsidize from community to community - overcharging in non-competitive markets to make up for keeping prices low in competitive markets.
Nonetheless, public power companies and other public agencies have learned to keep meticulous books to show they are not cross-subsidizing, something courts recognize each time their time is wasted by lawsuit-happy incumbent providers.
EPB has long offered some telecom... Read more