What’s going on
Chattanooga telecom EPB is launching the first tier of 25 Gbps internet speeds across the community in the US.
why does it matter
Wow, we thought things were looking up when AT&T and Ziply Fiber announced 5 Gbps plans this year, and Xfinity upped its Gigabit Pro plan to 6 Gbps. But this shows that the need (or the desire, at least) for faster Internet speeds is not going to diminish.
EPB, a municipal utility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that provides 100% fiber-optic Internet service, announced a 25 gigabits per second plan available to all residential and business customers, effective immediately. this is the fastest multi-gigabit broadband service available in the US
The 25,000 Mbps plan, announced on August 24, features symmetrical upload and download speeds. That’s five times faster than AT&T’s much-touted “hypergig” plan Y Fastest Tier of Ziply Fiber. It is more than four times faster than the Xfinity Gigabit Pro Plan. It’s also available to all customers within EPB’s 600-square-mile footprint, a claim AT&T, Xfinity and Ziply Fiber can’t make on their faster plans.
Chattanooga might still be more familiar, as the city’s name appears in the Glenn Miller Orchestra’s 1941 song Chattanooga Choo Choo. But in the tech industry, it’s been known as “Gig City” for more than 10 years. . It was an early adopter of high-speed internet, offering it to the entire community in 2010, and was the first city in the US to have a 10-gigabit-per-second residential plan, in 2015.
“Once again we are breaking the typical approach of internet service providers by proactively upgrading to the latest technologies in anticipation of future needs,” EPB board chair Vicky Gregg said in a press release. “Our goal is to enable new frontiers for technical innovation and job creation for our customers for the benefit of our entire community.”
Of course, this begs the question: do you really need all that speed? According to the most recent data from OpenVault, the average download speed for a typical American household is about 312 Mbps. For most of us, upgrading to a gigabit tier would be a noticeable improvement, let alone upgrading to a plan. 25Gbps.
What kind of a dent will this aggressive new plan put in your budget? An EPB spokesperson told CNET that the residential plan costs $1,500 per month (yes, that’s right) with no data caps and no term contracts. That’s not exactly pocket change, but the spokesperson assured me that the price is expected to decline over time as the market recovers.
While I was initially skeptical about that claim, a look at current EPB prices supports the claim. EPB’s gigabit plan (at $68 per month) is cheaper than comparable fiber gigabit plans from AT&T ($80), Border ($70), google fiber ($70), Optimum ($80) and Verizon Fios ($90).
Similarly, the 10 Gbps EPB plan, at $300 per month, is priced the same as Xfinity’s 6 Gbps tier, so customers get a better EPB value.
EPB customers interested in the 25 gig plan need new equipment to take full advantage of its top-tier capabilities. Although it could connect to run on a subscriber’s current hardware, it would not be able to reach the maximum download and upload speeds. According to EPB, “using speeds this good requires professional-grade equipment.”