Comcast’s wideband coming to Walker County
Comcast Communications says it will bring its next generation of Internet service, called “wideband,” to Walker County beginning in mid- to late September.
Laurie Shipley, public affairs manager for Comcast Communications in Chattanooga, said the switch to wideband will depend on how the process goes with Chattanooga, adding that there have been no problems as of yet.
She said the situation will be win-win for the customer, doubling the speed of its current Internet service. The current service is known as “broadband.”
According to Comcast, wideband’s faster speeds include the “Extreme 50” tier with downloads of up to 50 Mbps.
“Our next-generation wideband services will also use our existing fiber-optic network, but will be supercharged to enhance our customers’ online experience,” said Valerie Gillespie, vice president and general manager of Chattanooga Comcast, in a written statement.
Shipley said the upgrade in Walker County will be completed in clusters known as “nodes.” A node in Chattanooga, for example, consists of 3,000 to 4,000 customers, but this varies depending on population. In Walker County, there will be four nodes in Comcast’s Battlefield area and two nodes in the its LaFayette area.
Shipley said Comcast has opened a new office at 1839 Battlefield Parkway.
Ringgold Telephone rolling out fiber optics
Ringgold Telephone Co. (RTC) currently offers high-speed DSL service to all customers and has run fiber optic cables for upgraded service to 3,000 homes.
Philip Foster, office manager for RTC, said 600 customers are using the upgraded service and the hope is for 1,000 customers this year.
Foster said fiber optics allows for an “open door” for customers to choose what capabilities they have through their Internet service — for example, giving the customer the choice to increase or decrease their amount of bandwidth with ease.
He said RTC has been targeting users which currently subscribe to RTC’s high-speed DSL service for the upgrade, but said density of service area also plays a large role in deciding where to implement the upgrade. He said areas in which the currently laid copper wiring needs to be attended to also play a large role.
Foster said the copper wiring, besides regular upgrading and maintenance, has essentially remained the same since its inception and that a “wall has been hit,” concerning upgrading capabilities.
“The nice thing (about fiber optics) is it’s practically limitless in the amount of bandwidth provided to a home,” Foster said. “We offer up to 20 Mbps download speeds as a premium service, but feel it’s pretty economical.”
EPB looks to fiber optics for parts of Walker, Catoosa
Chattanooga’s Electric Power Board (EPB) is in the process of laying a new fiber optic grid to its service area, which includes parts of Catoosa and Walker counties. According to EPB’s website, the grid is “a modernized, 100% fiber optic infrastructure capable of transmitting an infinite amount of data.”
Lacie Newton, corporate communications specialist for EPB, said in an e-mail, EPB expect the grid to reach North Georgia in the next three to five years.
According to EPB’s website, its “fi speed” (fiber optic broadband) Internet service will provide “super-high-speed Internet with symmetrical upload and download speeds.” It states that data files and images can be sent and received within the “blink of an eye,” providing 50 Mpbs of bandwidth.
Currently, EPB is testing its grid in some residential areas in Chattanooga.
Charter Communications’ plans for Catoosa are sketchy
For Internet users in Catoosa County, Charter Communications provides high-speed Internet access. Nick Pavils, director of government relations for Charter Communications, said Charter is always looking to upgrade service for its customers.
Pavlis added, however, that as a more “rural” provider of Internet service, the upgrades made must be a “profitable build.”
He added that in metropolitan areas such as St. Louis, Charter Internet provides download speeds of up to 60 Mbps.
“We evaluate each and every project to see if it pays back what we put into it,” Pavlis said.
Pavlis said Charter is always in close contact with its business partners within its service areas, which assist in informing Charter of the needs of businesses and residents.