Chattanooga's EPB reduces 1 Gbps service to $70 a month

EPB Fiber, the telecom unit of Chattanooga, Tenn.-based electric utility EPB, appears to have adopted Google Fiber's (Nasdaq: GOOG) method to provide cheap and dirty bandwidth by reducing the cost of its 1 Gbps Fiber to the Home (FTTH) service from $300 to $70 a month.

In tandem with the price change, the service provider is upgrading all residential and business customers' service speeds to a minimum of 100 Mbps.

Current residential customers that subscribe to a 100 Mbps or higher speed tier will see their speed increase to 1 Gbps for $70 a month, while those with a 50 Mbps service will be bumped to 100 Mbps for the same $58 a month price.

Customers will be able to access these new speeds beginning next month.

This is the second time in the past year where it upped the speeds and reduced the pricing of its existing lower-speed symmetrical 1 Gbps tiers. Under its initial pricing structure, the 1 Gbps service was originally $349.99 a month.

The advent of 1 Gbps bandwidth capabilities has also helped attract new companies to locate in Chattanooga and drive new programs such as GigTank that welcome entrepreneurs and startups to stay and work in the city.

"When we first introduced the gigabit, we couldn't find a relevant example of pricing as a guiding model, because it hadn't been done before in this country, so we started with what we thought was a reasonable price considering the cost risk of offering that much bandwidth," said Danna Bailey, a spokeswoman for EPB Fiber in an interview with FierceTelecom. "Then we watched and learned."

Bailey added that after reducing the residential gigabit pricing by $50 and doubling all of its other speeds without changing costs, "we've just taken that to the next level." 

EPB Fiber's 1 Gbps-capable network has gotten attention from a number of municipal utilities, government officials, community leaders and private companies in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Ireland, Brazil and throughout the U.S.

New Zealand incumbent telco Chorus, for one, cited Chattanooga in its "Welcome to Gigatown" competition, which will provide a winning town with 1 Gbps FTTH service.

However, the municipal provider is hardly alone in the discount 1 Gbps game. Salt Lake City, Utah-based open access provider UTOPIA also announced that seven of the service providers that provide services over its open-access FTTH network are now offering the service for $64.95 a month, down from $299 last year.

For more:
- see the release

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