Irene Esteves, Time Warner Cable chief technology officer, said last week at a conference in San Francisco that the average person doesn’t want a 1-gigabit-per-second Internet speed, according to Wired.com.
She said her company delivers what customers want, and only business customers will need that kind of bandwidth.
But local EPB leaders are taking a different perspective.
“We have made our network—our smart grid—available to all our 174,000 customers, so if they choose, they can have that speed,” spokesman John Pless said. “Technology [changes] every year. With new things coming out, we are making sure that we have the backbone and framework in place, so if customers need it, they have it.”
At the end of 2011, leaders dubbed Chattanooga the "Gig City" because of its unique, 1-gigabit-per-second Internet speeds.
They created a business development competition called Gig Tank and offered cash prizes to the entrepreneurs and students who came up with the best idea utilizing the gig.
After the announcement, there was a year of gig excitement that eventually slowed briefly when the value of the high-speed Internet came into question.
The criticism came after Gig Tank winner Aaron Welch said that he wasn't using the gig for his business.
But local leaders have continued to tout the feature and its benefits, and they recently announced the next Gig Tank competition. Leaders are currently taking applications for the second event.
Google rolled out its gigabit fiber optic service earlier this year in Kansas City.
The Wired article said that companies such as Time Warner want to protect profit margins they get from businesses using the gig.
Meanwhile, a New York Daily News piece from earlier this month focuses on the city’s need for technological advancement.
“We must invest in our communications infrastructure now while we still have a chance, or we’ll soon be playing catch up to Chattanooga …," writer Anthony Figliola said in the column.
AtlanticCities.com also recently highlighted Chattanooga in an article about why larger cities aren’t working on municipal broadband networks.
And Pless said the attention for the Gig City is great.
Many national outlets still report that Chattanooga isn’t a place everyone would think of as a technology hub, but increasing media coverage is helping with that perception, Pless also said.
“The coverage has been phenomenal,” he said. “It’s not just coverage for EPB that’s great—it’s also for the community. It’s great to be able to be a leader in this industry.”