AUB Ready to Offer Fiber Optic Broadband Internet

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Athens Utilities Board (AUB) had finished negotiations with Electricity Power Board (EPB) and Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC) to offer broadband internet services over fiber optic networks. After signing all necessary papers to get clearance for starting the services, AUB officials commented that they are now ready for offering high-speed broadband services to the business and industrial subscribers in the area.

Athens is a city in McMinn County, Tennessee, United States. It is the county seat of McMinn County and the principal city of the Athens Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of the larger Chattanooga-Cleveland-Athens Combined Statistical Area. The population is just more than 13,000 as per census records.

Athens Utility Board 812 Woodward Avenue

AUB leases the fiber optic network that is deployed from Athens to Ooltewah by Volunteer Energy Cooperative. EPB of Chattanooga provides the broadband signal to AUB. The negotiations lasted almost 10 months. AUB technical team had conducted tests to verify the transmission of broadband signals and their stability. The team verified that a steady 1Gbps transmission is available in the network. If required by AUB, a transmission speed of 10Gbps can also be allotted.

So far, the all-inclusive cost for contracts, labor (internal and contract), materials (optical fiber cable, conduit, etc.), and equipment (optical switches and amplifiers) comes to $58,258.69 expended to get AUB’s physical fiber connection to EPB. It was almost one year before that AUB started physical construction on the south end of the project. AUB had allotted a budget of $100,000 for the extension of fiber optic networks. Currently, AUB provides Internet service for HP Pelzer Automotive Systems in the Mt. Verd Interchange Industrial Park. AUB plans to approach local businesses and industries to promote their high-speed broadband service offerings and to explore other business opportunities.

As per the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), municipalities can serve broadband customers outside their service area, but the state Legislature does not permit it. AUB officials said that their service is currently only available for commercial and industrial customers, adding he knows there are businesses that have a primary Internet provider but want to have a redundancy in case the primary service goes down. Customers who are already in the immediate proximity of AUB’s optical fiber link will be able to be served much faster than long extensions into remote areas.

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