Consider Tennessee’s fourth-largest city:
“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 (EPB) runs its own network, offering higher-speed service than any of its private-sector competitors can manage.”
That’s from CNN Money, which reported that $70 a month gives Chattanoogans speeds up to 1,000 Megabits per second via a fiber-optic network. It’s like the autobahn for Internet traffic.
The project – powered by a nine-figure grant from the Department of Energy – started in 2008. One year later, the service was operational.
Today, roughly 5,000 businesses and 57,000-plus households are EPB customers.
“Deploying a network for telecommunications is not fundamentally different from deploying a network for power,” broadband expert Benoit Felten said. “Chattanooga is the prime example of that, and it’s absolutely worked.”
But is the model built for a bigger scale?
Here are four more stories found on the beat:
Google is setting its sights on small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). The tech giant plans to offer SMBs “commercial-grade Wi-Fi access equipment at a steep discount,” according to The Information:
“The planned offering, which could be unveiled as soon as this summer, is aimed at millions of businesses such as restaurants, doctors’ offices and gyms – and possibly even public institutions like libraries – in the US and abroad.”
The goal, courtesy of TechCrunch:
“The plan is to get better Wi-Fi in the hands of these businesses in order to get more users working on Google apps and services, which ultimately means more customers spending more time engaging with Google’s money-making products…”
Good plan? Deloitte research found that nearly two-thirds of US consumers most often connect their smartphones to Wi-Fi networks.
This week, eBay dealt with a hacker-induced headache. The e-commerce site announced Wednesday that one of its databases was compromised in a cyberattack.
In a statement, eBay said the database included customers’ names, and their encrypted passwords, email and mailing addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth. eBay urged users to change their passwords.
As USA Today reminded, “keeping it simple” is not a sound strategy.
Looking for lift-off
Microsoft Vice President Panos Panay is positive the third generation of the Surface line he oversees, the Surface Pro 3, will achieve a specific goal.
“I am sure that this is the tablet that can replace the laptop,” Panay said during a press event introducing the product.
That’s some statement, considering Microsoft hasn’t gained a foothold in the tablet market. (And that’s putting it nicely.) However, Panay’s prediction may have merit.
The Seattle Times reported that, “Michael Silver, an analyst with research firm Gartner, regards the Surface Pro 3 as ‘a really competitive entry,’ especially for corporate users.”
Coding in the classroom
When the 2014-15 academic year begins, the UK will be the first G8 country to make computer science education part of its national curriculum. But before students can learn, the teachers must go back to school, Wired reported:
“That’s why many UK schools are turning to Codecademy, a three-year-old startup based in New York City. Codecademy offers free coding classes over the Internet in a variety of programming languages, and more than 1,000 British schools are now leaning on its service as they prepare for the arrival of new curriculum.”
For all those future tech-heads overseas, US News & World Report ranked 11 tech jobs in its “100 Best Jobs of 2014.”