So if we determine that broadband is one of the “basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of a community or society” then I would say yes, government has a role in broadband policy. I am clear that the Saint Paul Broadband Advisory Committee did indeed feel that broadband has become a basic infrastructure.
EPB Fiber Increases Residential Speeds at No Extra Cost
Chattanooga's EPB Fiber just announced that current customers will receive a bump up in speed at no extra cost for its FI-Speed Internet service.
Residential customers on three separate tiers will automatically receive an increase in speed with no increase in price. The upgrade has already happened and customers can immediately take advantage of the new speeds.
According to an Ellis Smith article in the Chattanooga Times Press:
EPB, which offers gigabit fiber-optic Internet speeds across its Chattanooga service area, is upgrading customers to celebrate its third anniversary in the fiber-to-the-home market, said Harold DePriest, president and CEO.
“Enhancing our FI-Speed Internet was something we could do to celebrate, so we did it,” DePriest said.
This is the second time EPB has upgraded service to customers for free. In 2010, EPB upgraded 15 Mbps service to 30 Mbps service. Oh, and the prices haven't increased over the three years. Look back at your cable bills from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, or others, and you'll likely find that rate increases outnumber speed boosts.
New speed (and old rates) look like this:
$57.99 - 30 Mbps symmetrical increases to 50 Mbps symmetrical
$69.99 - 50 Mbps symmetrical increases to 100 Mbps symmetrical
$139.99 - 100 Mbps symmetrical increases to 250 Mbps symmetrical
As an added bonus to cutomers on the 1 Gbps symmetrical tier, their rates will drop from $349.99 to $299.99.
Fierce Telecom's Sean Buckly shared some perspective on the change:
While major cable MSOs, including local operator Comcast, have been responding to the higher speed FTTH offerings made by the likes of Verizon and their 300 Mbps tier, it's clear cable's best offerings don't come close to what EPB can offer.
Comcast's 105/20 tier is priced at $115 per month plus the price of the modem rental, while Chattanooga EPB customers can get 250 Mbps symmetric service for $139.
EPB CEO Harold DePriest announced the upgrade with some other important news:
The upgrade, which EPB did not announce until after it was complete, came as the city-owned utility passed 40,000 fiber customers in the Chattanooga-area market. In its original business plan, EPB had projected a loss of $8 million in its third year, but actually made $4 million as of Saturday, DePriest said.