Tullahoma to become ‘gigabit city’

Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 3:38 pm

By ANDREA AGARDY

Staff Writer

 

Customers who use LightTUBe as their online service provider will soon have access to one of the fastest Internet speeds in the nation.

During Tuesday night’s meeting of the Tullahoma Utilities Board (TUB), Brian Skelton, the utility’s general manager, announced that in just a matter of days, Tullahoma will become “a gigabit city.”

“We’re excited,” Skelton said. “We want people to know that we’re growing technology in our city.”

Starting on May 1, LightTUBe, TUB’s telephone, cable and Internet service, will begin offering one gigabit per second (1 Gbps) Internet service to its residential and business customers. TUB officials said 1 Gbps Internet is more than 150 times faster than the average broadband speed in the United States.

Tullahoma Utilities Board Level 2 support technician Christopher Reddekopp inspects the LightTUBe head end, the nerve center for the utility’s cable, telephone and Internet ser-vice. TUB officials announced this week that LightTUBe will begin offering customers one gigabit per second Internet service on May 1. --Staff Photo by Andrea Agardy

Skelton said Tullahoma will be one of only a handful of cities across the nation where 1 Gbps is available.

“You have to have fiber to the business or home to offer this and most places don’t have that,” he told the  board.

According to TUB, most communities nationwide are forced to purchase slower Internet service from telephone or cable providers whose networks rely heavily on existing copper infrastructure such as telephone wires or coaxial cable, which severely limits Internet speeds. Because LightTUBe is a 100 percent fiber-to-premise system, TUB can offer download and upload speeds of 1Gbps now.

Skelton said residential customers who subscribe to LightTUBe’s current 300 megabit per second Internet service, at a cost of roughly $300 per month, will automatically be upgraded to 1 Gbps at no additional cost. He said the service is not “rate carded” on the commercial side, adding the service will be quoted on a individual basis as businesses inquire about it. Switching to 1 Gbps may require upgrading the optical network terminal in some customers’ homes and businesses, Skelton said, adding that the equipment will be swapped out at no cost to the customer in a process that should only take around 10 minutes for a technician to complete.

TUB officials said adding 1 Gbps to LightTUBe’s offerings benefits existing businesses in the community and may even help draw new companies to the city, fostering economic development.

“Gigabit service from TUB LightTUBe is one of the most robust Internet offerings available today,” said TUB Chairman Bob Lindeman.

Skelton said the faster Internet service makes Tullahoma an attractive option for companies.

“It shows that we can provide anything they want,” he said. “The TUB board made the decision to build a fiber to the premise system for economic development reasons, and it is paying off for our community. We want to make Tullahoma a much more desirable location for technology companies to locate, due to our ultra-high speed Internet and our highly skilled workforce. Tullahoma is light years ahead of most cities in the United States with the ability to offer these incredibly fast Internet speeds, and we look forward to the benefits this will bring to our city.”

Andrea Agardy can be reached by email at tnrept03@lcs.net.

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