Was it the seriously good chicken-fried steak at the all-night CityCafe after 12 hours of delayed ice-storm travel? (Just me and the nice cops at 4am.) Was it being featured on the local ABC news broadcast because I was there to judge the Alexathon? Was it the abundance of great locally-brewed IPAs, or the number of friendly people who smiled and said “hi,” just walking down the street? Or maybe the fact that almost every restaurant serves fried pickles?
It was all of those things, but even more, it was the awesome high-speed free public WiFi. Chattanooga is known as “Gig City” for its lightning-fast Internet access, and after spending four days there, I would like to insist that every city leader and service provider in the US take a lesson from EPB and the city of Chattanooga.
EPB installed “NoogaNet” three years ago to provide residents and businesses with the fastest Internet connection in the country. Put simply, it rocks. Can you imagine if you had a super-speedy connection from every device in your possession? No drops, no switching back and forth if you go from the coffee shop, to the office, to the library? It’s truly a beautiful thing.
Over the past few days, I’ve talked to at least 10 people here who have described the positive impact of NoogaNet. The barista, the cab driver, the hotel desk staff, the guys at the startup incubator, the bartender pouring beer…everyone in the city seems to appreciate what they have. The advanced infrastructure has led to an influx of innovative young tech companies and tech talent in the city, which benefits all.
EPB’s partnership with Mojo Networks enables them to easily roll out and provision additional access points to provide WiFi coverage in more indoor and outdoor public areas. From the beautiful Riverwalk by the Tennessee Aquarium, from the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium to the Chattanooga airport…I started playing a little game with myself called “Spot the Mojo AP.” They're discreet, but once I began to look closely, I saw them everywhere, lighting up the city with brilliant cloud-managed WiFi.
My informal polls indicate that EPB is viewed as a community hero. Really, when is the last time you heard people gushing about their service provider? They do in Gig City!