How Chattanooga used fiber to buoy the rest of its tech community
In 2010, J.Ed. Marston — then the vice president of marketing for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce — was tasked with pitching new media outlets about one of the city’s latest high-tech offerings. The city’s utility provider, Electrical Power Board of Chattanooga, had created its own fiber optic network that was capable of delivering internet speeds of 1 gigabit per second to all residents.
The problem Marston encountered wasn’t lack of interest — it was that not everyone believed that a city the size of Chattanooga (population 177,571) could have created its own fiber network with internet speeds that fast.
“I had to get EPB to write out a technical spec that I could provide to people…to prove that we actually had what we said we had,” Marston recalls.