What is happening
Chattanooga telecom EPB launches the first 25 Gbps community internet speed level in the United States.
why is it important
Wow, we thought things were picking up speed when AT&T and Ziply Fiber announced 5Gbps plans this year, and Xfinity upped its Gigabit Pro plan to 6Gbps. But it shows that the need (or desire, at least) for greater internet speed isn’t about to fade.
EPB, a municipal utility in Chattanooga, Tenn., that provides 100% fiber internet service, announced a 25 gigabit per second plan available to all residential and business customers, effective immediately. It’s the fastest multi-gigabit broadband service available in the United States.
The 25,000 Mbps plan, announced Aug. 24, features symmetrical upload and download speeds. It’s five times faster than AT&T’s highly touted “hypergig” plan and The fastest level of Ziply Fiber. It’s 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 fastest plans.
Chattanooga is perhaps even more familiar as the city’s name is ticked off in the Glenn Miller Orchestra’s 1941 song Chattanooga Choo Choo. But in the tech industry it is known as “Gig City ” for more than 10 years. It was an early adopter of high-speed internet, offering it community-wide in 2010, and it was the first US city to have a residential 10 gigabit per second plan, in 2015.
“We are once again breaking away from the typical ISP approach by proactively upgrading to the latest technologies in anticipation of future needs,” said EPB Board Chair Vicky Gregg. , 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, that begs the question: do you really need all that speed? According to the most recent information from OpenVault, the average download speed for a typical US household is around 312 Mbps. For most of us, upgrading to a gigabit tier would be a big upgrade, let alone upgrading up to a 25 Gbps plan.
What kind of a bang will this quick new plan put on your budget? An EPB spokesperson told CNET that the residential plan costs $1,500 per month (yes, that’s right) with no data caps or fixed-term contracts. It’s not exactly loose change, but the spokesperson assured me that the price should come down over time as the market catches up.
While I was initially skeptical of this claim, a look at current EPB prices confirms the claim. EPB’s gigabit plan (at $68 per month) is cheaper than comparable 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 better value from EPB.
EPB customers interested in the 25 gig plan need new equipment to take full advantage of its high-end capabilities. While it can be hooked up to work on a subscriber’s current hardware, you won’t be able to achieve the maximum upload and download speeds. According to EPB, “Using such high speeds requires professional-grade equipment.”