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City With Superfast Internet Invites Innovators to Play

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Fiber-optic cables

Credit: Chattanooga Electric Power Board

Chattanooga, Tennessee, residents have access to a 1 Gbps Internet, which is about 100 times faster than the U.S. national average, and now the city is holding a contest with $300,000 in prize money to help determine what to do with the superfast Internet.

One entrant is a healthcare application that transfers larger files such as computed tomographic scans in real time so that specialists can serve a larger area.

The Chattanooga service has been available for more than a year to 150,000 residential and commercial customers for $350 a month, but so far it only has eight residential and 18 commercial subscribers.

"What we are trying to do is inject some capital into innovation, with the goal of driving demand for higher-bandwidth networks and jump-start adoption across the country and world," says Lamp Post Group's Jack Studer. "Eventually, these fatter pipes will get filled with bandwidth-eating applications.”

Google is trying to set up a similar superfast Internet system in Kansas City. The efforts in Chattanooga and Kansas City are a step toward carrying out the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's National Broadband Plan.

"Projects like Chattanooga and Kansas City reopen the opportunity for innovation," says Internet2's Rob Vietzke.

From Technology Review
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