When trains were the fastest mode of transportation in the country, it made sense that a railroad-line popularized in a 1940s big band song by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra would become world famous. But globally, since that time, you haven't heard much about that quaint little town in Tennessee. That was - until the city's utility company, EPB announced Chattanooga will be competing with Hong Kong in offering the fastest Internet service on the planet.
According to NY Times report, by year-end, Chattanooga's high-speed Internet service will travel at the ultra-high speed of one gigabit a second, which is 200 times faster than the average broadband speed in America. This will put Chattanooga back on the international map as "one of the leading cities in the world in its digital capabilities," said Mayor Ron Littlefield.
To understand the speed that will be offered, Obama's administration set a goal of bringing broadband to 100 million American homes by 2020 with only 100 megabits a second - only one-tenth of Chattanooga's proposed speed. NY Times reporter Steve Lohr quotes studies that indicate "the United States is a laggard among developed nations in broadband adoption and service speeds."
Eric SchmidtGoogle's CEO Eric Schmidt is not pleased with low-ranking America's status in this regard, as China and other parts of the world are beginning to speed past us in broadband performance. My previous post titled, "China's 'Internet Of Things' To Become Semantic Web Superpower,' highlights that Southeast Asia will also transition into Web 3.0 faster than the U.S.
Google, subsequently has stepped in to help play 'catch-up.' According to the company's official blog, it has pledged to supply service at one gigabit a second to 500,000 people in 1,100 communities in the United States
However, there is a price tag that comes with speed. Reports indicate that EPB will be charging $350 per month for the service. Apparently 'gigs' aren't cheap and probably will not be affordable for the 170,000 residential homes that will be offered the service. EPB provides electricity, television, telephone and Internet services in a 600 square-mile area in southeastern Tennessee and northwest Georgia.
According to a PC World post, when EPB's CEO Harold DePriest was asked "why are they doing it if it's so darn expensive?" - he responded matter-of-factly: "Because we can."
So while Chattanooga catapults itself onto the global stage once again, we might think about changing some of those lyrics in that Glenn Miller classic...
I can affordto:
To board a Chattanooga choo choo
I've got my fare
And just a trifle to spare
I can't afford
To board the Chattanooga high-speed Internet
Can't raise the monthly fare
And Harold DePriest doesn't seem to care!
After all, Mel Brooks took liberties with that song when he filmed his classic movie parody, "Young Frankenstein."