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How the Gig City Built a Smart Grid and New Revenue Streams with Fiber Optic Networks

BY Kelsey Ryon

Advanced metering infrastructures are evolving, and utilities are rapidly learning and adopting fiber optic networks to support these advancements. If you’re beginning the research process and considering a fiber optic network for your service area, a good place to start is to learn from early adopters like Chattanooga, Tennessee’s city-owned Electric Power Board (EPB). Their adoption of fiber technologies led to the impressive “Gig City” nickname and earned them several awards along the way.

In 2009, EPB was awarded $111.6 million in federal stimulus to build a smart grid. To connect its grid sensors and devices, EPB needed to build a fiber optic communications network. With the selection of Hexagon’s Intergraph G/Technology, EPB added fiber design capabilities to its existing utility geographical information system.

Chattanooga’s EPB is a long-time Hexagon customer and runs a combined electric and fiber network model. But electric utilities are not the only service EPB offers; it also provides customers with broadband internet services. EPB built the nation’s first communitywide 1-gigabit-per-second internet system. In 2016, EPB was ranked by Consumer Reports as the best utility in America for consumer satisfaction for its TV and internet service. Wired magazine has also ranked EPB faster than Google Fiber for offering 10 gigabit-per-second internet services across its network.

With the additional income from added fiber enabled services, a fiber optic network can pay for itself and create more revenue for your utilities company. To learn more about fiber optic networks and Chattanooga EPB, join Hexagon and Fiber Broadband Association for an upcoming webinar on September 18th.


About Kelsey Ryon

Kelsey Ryon is a senior marketing specialist for Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure’s Utilities, Communications, and Transportation business unit in the U.S. Ryon has more than a decade of experience in the utilities industry including energy, water, transmission, and distribution - gaining valuable insights into the global businesses. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Athens State University.

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