Quick – where in the US is the highest of high tech, the sharpest of cutting edge technologies, the Mecca of entrepreneurial geekdom?
San Jose, California? Redmond, Washington? Cambridge, Mass.?
Oh, please – they are so over. Try Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Chattanooga, you see, has what they are calling The Gig and The Gig is the fastest internet broadband (1 gig per second) on earth.
On earth! Which is pretty spectacular when you consider that the US ranks No.31 in internet speed overall – behind Uruguay and Estonia. Except for this one little town, which has an internet speed 50 times faster than any in the world.
And it’s cheap, because it has been created by the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, which is a municipal utility. How the EPB developed The Gig and what it has meant to the renascence of the city is a wonderful story and you can find all the fascinating details here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/30/chattanooga-gig-high-speed-internet-tech-boom
One result is that the century-old Loveman’s department store has been repurposed to house a number of tech start-ups and is apparently a hive of activity these days.
Is there a downside to all this? Only if you’re Verizon, AT&T or Time Warner. The first two are part of a group demanding that the FCC shut down the Gig because, among other things, municipal broadband is ‘unreliable.’
And some other reasons, all of which are just gobbledegook. They are completely shameless in their pursuit of profits.
Time Warner is asking the North Carolina legislature to outlaw a similar effort in Wilson NC. Wilsonians installed their own municipal broadband because TW was such a failure.
You just have to love capitalists – they are always going on about a free market, but they turn such an adorable shade of purple when they’re actually faced with one.