Google Fiber is a great service and offers Internet speeds far faster than most people have access to. Despite this, there's another high-speed Internet player on its way - the city of Chattanooga.
The Chattanooga Electric Power Board (EPB), which is a city-owned power utility, has announced that it is now offering Internet connections of a whopping 10 gigabits per second, which is almost 1,000 times faster than the average Internet connection in the United States.
The new service is available to any business or individual in the city that wants it; however it won't come cheap - the price tag is $299 per month. Users will also be able to buy either three or five gigabit connections in addition to the existing one gigabit connection.
Chattanooga was one of the first cities to bypass commercial Internet companies, instead offering city-run Internet at high data speeds for its citizens. It started doing this all the way back in 2008, around five years before Google Fiber was even a consideration and brought Internet to Kansas City.
"Today, we become the first community in the world capable of delivering up to 10 Gigs to all 170,000 households and businesses in our service area," said Harold DePriest, EPB's president.
Of course, commercial Internet companies aren't a fan of these kinds of city-run services, and have even fought to bring laws that prohibit them. Comcast went as far as to sue the Chattanooga Electric Power Board in 2008, but it didn't work. Instead of trying to take the services down legally, however, it seems as though the company have simply tried to compete. Comcast announced earlier this year that it would be offering a two-gigabit Internet service for $300 per month in Chattanooga. It's certainly not ten gigabits, but it isn't bad compared to previous offerings.
While individuals and families probably won't be able to use ten gigabits of bandwidth, the service could certainly be helpful for schools and businesses.
"Chattanooga is a city ready to compete in the 21st Century innovation economy," noted Mayor Andy Berke. "The 10 Gig offering will continue to grow wages, diversify our local economy and propel Chattanooga as a center for technology and invention."
It will be interesting to see if more municipal Internet services pop up over time and what it means for commercial Internet providers. Hopefully if that does happen it will put more pressure on the likes of Comcast to lower its prices and improve its long-disliked customer service.