This Chattanooga choo choo is more than the little engine that could. Reporting over at GigaOM, industry analyst Craig Settles has detailed in two posts some of the impact the city of Chattanooga Tennessee is seeing from its gigabit broadband network. While I’m looking forward to a consistent 15 Mbps downstream connection, the good folks of Chattanooga are thinking much bigger thoughts thanks to their significant (and apparently hard-earned) broadband wealth.
First, the city is getting its money’s worth by implementing smart-grid technologies to increase operational efficiencies and cut down on costs. According to Settles, with a gigabit of bandwidth, the city’s public utility company can reduce power outages from hours down to minutes. During a recent spate of tornadoes, the smart grid saved an estimated 730,000 minutes of power (more than 12,000 hours), and eliminated the need for 250 truck rolls. That’s money in the bank.
Second, the city is offering some serious Wi-Fi benefits to the local government with a mesh network that delivers 16 Mbps of symmetrical service. Current applications taking advantage of the Wi-Fi access include a fleet of wirelessly-controlled helicopter drones that stream video feeds from remote and/or dangerous locations, and a new imaging program that scans and uploads real-world 3D images to create static holograms. (Holodeck, anyone?)
Third, Chattanooga is wooing new business interests with broadband capacity that makes big-data computations possible. SimCenter Enterprises (above) is one example located in the city, and it uses the gigabit connection for high-end modeling and simulation exercises. Continue Reading…