Athens, Tenn., Businesses to Get Fiber Internet

  • Athens Utilities Board
  • Volunteer Energy Cooperative
ATHENS, TN — After nearly 10 months of contract negotiations, construction and labor, Athens Utilities Board (AUB) is ready to offer fiber-optic broadband Internet service to area businesses and industries, according to an article in the Times Free Press.

AUB is leasing fiber between Athens and Ooltewah through Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC); the broadband signal is coming from Chattanooga's Electric Power Board (EPB). AUB General Manager Eric Newberry confirmed AUB has finished testing and there is a steady 1 gigabyte signal purchased by AUB on the system. He said from an economic development standpoint it "is a great day" to offer an alternative to supply broadband Internet through EPB. "We can go on up to ten gigabytes, if necessary," Newberry said.

Signed Agreement Lead to Announcement
AUB's plans to expand into broadband service have been ongoing for months, but without signed agreements with EPB and VEC, the news could not be announced. Newberry first met with EPB and VEC to discuss the feasibility of the idea in November 2013; initial physical construction started in earnest with contractors on the south end of the project near July 2014.

"In the meantime we had to order and install equipment in Cleveland to collect and boost the signal to Athens and we finally made up our end of the project around the first of April so that we could begin tuning our switches and eventually testing the signal strength," Newberry said.

AUB already provides Internet service for HP Pelzer Automotive Systems in the Mt. Verd Interchange Industrial Park and is currently exploring other business accounts. Newberry said AUB will begin approaching local businesses and industries about availability of the fiber optic network.


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