Max Fibre

Chattanooga’s super-fast publicly owned Internet

rolled out a fiber-optic network a few years ago that now offers speeds of up to 1000 Megabits per second, or 1 , for just $70 a month. A cheaper 100 Megabit plan costs $58 per month. Even the slower plan is still light-years ahead of the average U.S. connection speed, which stood at 9.8 megabits per second as of late last year, according to Akamai Technologies.

As federal officials find themselves at the center of controversy over net neutrality and the regulation of private Internet service providers like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, Chattanooga offers an alternative model for keeping people connected. A city-owned agency, the Electric Power Board, runs its own network, offering higher-speed service than any of its private-sector competitors can manage.

Chattanooga’s project started in 2008 with the goal of building a “smart” power grid for the city, capable of rerouting electricity on the fly to prevent outages in addition to carrying Internet traffic.

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