Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is moving to shake up the Chattanooga, Tenn., broadband market by challenging both local telco incumbent AT&T (NYSE: T) and municipal utility EPB with its own 2 Gbps fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband offering starting in June.
Set to initially be offered to 200,000 customers beginning in June, the cable MSO expects to expand the availability of the Gigabit Pro service locally over the next several months.
Chattanooga follows earlier announced Gigabit Pro debuts in Atlanta, Florida and California. The service provider plans to roll out the service to 18 million homes by the end of the year.
What's interesting about Chattanooga is that Comcast and AT&T have been two of the loudest voices in driving lawmakers to pass legislation banning local towns and cities from offering their own broadband services in the state.
But not all efforts on that front have been successful. In 2007, Chattanooga's City Council voted 8-0 to approve a $200 million fiber network to be built by local utility EPB. Following a Comcast lawsuit in 2008, EPB began building out a FTTH network that now supports 1 Gbps services for $70 a month.
Comcast has not revealed pricing for the Chattanooga market yet.
Besides lobbying legislators to prevent EPB and others from building a network in the state, Comcast and AT&T had been advocates of laws that would prevent EPB from expanding into new areas and hindering others from building out new networks. However, EPB won a victory in February when the FCC effectively overturned Tennessee state law that prevented expansion of service into new territories that today have no available broadband access.
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