Advanced internet technologies, energy management and the smart grid are coming together in an unlikely location: a mid-sized city in the South.
Chattanooga, Tennessee, utility EPB hit two milestones in the last two weeks of 2010: It completed the final touches on one of the fastest internet pipelines in the world, and it activated the first automated switches on its electricity network. The combination constitutes the backbone for a Department of Energy–funded smart grid network that’s expected to save the utility and area businesses tens of millions of dollars annually.
The utility will go head-to-head with providers such as Comcast to offer its existing customers an ultrahigh-speed internet connection at a whopping one gigabit per second—more than 200 times faster than the average U.S. download speed. With this, YouTube uploads go from several minutes to seconds. Even in a worldwide context, it’s impressive—tech-savvy South Korea is eying one-gigabit-per-second service by 2012.
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