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Tullahoma, Tenn., to offer 1-gigabit Internet starting May 1

From the April 29, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published April 29, 2013

By Jeannine Anderson

Tullahoma, Tenn. will soon be one of only a few U.S. municipalities that can be called a "gigabit city."

The Tullahoma Utilities Board, a public power utility that provides electricity, water, wastewater, Internet, telephone and cable television services in Tullahoma, said it will begin offering one-gigabit-per-second Internet service to its customers on May 1.

LightTUBe, the city-owned utility’s telecommunications division, will offer the one-gigabit service (1,000 megabits per second) to every home and business in TUB's service area. The new Internet service is more than 150 times faster than the average broadband speed in the United States, the utility said.

"Gigabit service from TUB LightTUBe is one of the most robust Internet offerings available today," said Bob Lindeman, chairman of the utility's board of directors. The board "made the decision to build a fiber-to-the-premise system for economic development reasons, and it is paying off for our community," he said.

"We want to make Tullahoma a much more desirable location for technology companies to locate, due to our ultra-high speed Internet and our highly skilled work force," said TUB General Manager Brian Skelton. "Tullahoma is light years ahead of most cities in the United States with the ability to offer these incredibly fast Internet speeds, and we look forward to the benefits this will bring to our city."

In a news release, the city said Tullahoma is one of just a few U.S. cities that offer a state-of-the-art gigabit network. "Most communities nationwide are forced to purchase slower Internet service from telephone or cable providers whose networks relay heavily on existing copper infrastructure such as telephone wires or coaxial cable," the city said. "This copper infrastructure severely limits internet speeds. LightTUBe is a 100% fiber-to-the-premise system, capable of delivering symmetrical (download and upload) speeds at 1 Gbps." 

Currently, 3,100 customers subscribe to at least one LightTUBe fiber optic service — television, Internet access or phone service, the utility said.  Since its launch in January 2009, just over four years ago, LightTUBe has captured more than a third of the Tullahoma market, TUB said.

At a Conference of Mayors meeting early this year, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski issued a "gigabit city challenge," calling for at least one gigabit community in each of the 50 U.S. states by 2015.

"American economic history teaches a clear lesson about infrastructure," the said. "If we build it, innovation will come."


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