06 Jun How Chattanooga Became ‘Gig City’
Chattanooga might not be the first city one thinks of as a booming technology metropolis, but this Tennessee city has what analysts and city officials’ claim is the first and fastest ultra high-speed broadband connection, according to a recent article in the New York Times. The real shocker behind Chattanooga’s high-speed network is that it is also one of the least expensive in the country.
At less than $70 per month, residents and business enjoy data transfer rates of a gigabit per second. That is 50 times faster than the U.S. average. While that makes downloading videos lightning fast, the real benefits lie in the economic boom. Chattanooga’s fiber-optic network is known as the Gig, and it shows that people in the area are thinking differently than other big cities.
“It created a catalytic moment here,” said Sheldon Grizzle, the founder of Company Lab, a Chattanooga-based company aiming to create true, sustainable growth within Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial community. “The Gig allowed us to attract capital and talent into this community that never would have been here otherwise.”
Chattanooga launched its taxpayer-owned fiber optic network four years ago. Since then, the signs of growth have been obvious with Main Street, Warehouse Row and Market Street transforming from former factory buildings into open-space offices, loft apartments, shops, and restaurants. Much of the change in population is due to the influx of new residents: computer programmers, investors, and entrepreneurs. City officials say that the Gig created approximately 1,000 new jobs over the past three years.
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