When the Internet Hits Ludicrous Speed

Chattanooga, the Train That Could

We all agree that digital marketing in Santa Barbara is the future for businesses. But what is the future for the digital marketing superhighways – the internet. While the average internet user in the U.S. languishes in a bath of shame and frustration at 9.8 mbps, something magic this way comes in Chattanooga TN. Wait, where? Yep, Chattanooga TN. In 2008 Chattanooga began a public works project to upgrade their entire city to a genius fiber optics system that could make net neutrality a moot point – a publicly owned, and affordable, high speed internet. By high speed I mean actual high speed, to the tune of 1 gbps – that’s g for giga.

Fiber-Optic-Lamp

According to CNN Money, “it started in 2008 with the goal of building a ‘smart’ power grid for the city, capable of rerouting electricity on the fly to prevent outages in addition to carrying Internet traffic”. There was, of course, the obligatory lawsuits by the cable providers. But thankfully for the citizens and businesses in Chattanooga, resistance was futile. In 2009 the project was completed and the city was offering 1 gbps for around $70 per month, for those on a budget, they offer a slower connection of 100 mbps for around $58 – slower.

Kudos to a small town who got fed up and took matters into their own hands. They’ve not only seen an influx of businesses due to the availability of reliable and actual fast internet, but what is more promising is the interest from other cities both domestic and international. This is a promising trend. “It just didn’t look like the private sector was going to bring true, high-speed connectivity to this market,” EPB spokeswoman Danna Bailey said. At an average of 9.8 mbps it doesn’t seem like the private sector is in a big hurry to bring true high-speed internet to any market. That coupled with the hot button net neutrality issue, it seems promising to have a model to follow that offers a real solution instead of talking points.

Imagine the implications for businesses who need web design in Santa Barbara. Want to put a full HD video on your website? No problem, people can stream that. Downloads? No big deal. Online sales? Child’s play. This could however put places like California, who is traditionally a tech startup playground, on the hot-seat. We could soon see a “For Lease – Cheap” sign at Silicon Valley. Without an incentive for tech companies to stay, California could lose their incumbent status as America’s home to technology. I hope you’re reading this California – get your act together!

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