Study: EPB fiber has economic, social benefits

Authored By david.morton

EPB’s fiber optic infrastructure has provided economic and social benefits to the Chattanooga area it serves, according to a new study examining the city-owned network.

UTC finance professor Bento Lobo estimates the infrastructure has generated from $865.3 million to $1.3 billion in benefits in the past five years. Additionally, the network has resulted in the creation of 2,800 to 5,200 new jobs.

“This analysis suggests that the true economic value of the fiber infrastructure is much greater than the cost of installing and maintaining the infrastructure,” Lobo said.

The benefits realized by fiber deployment have exceeded Lobo’s own 2009 projections by at least 27 percent, which translates into benefits of approximately $2,800 per county resident, according to a news release.

Officials lauded the findings.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said the infrastructure has led to the creation of middle-class jobs and positions the city in the “innovation economy of tomorrow.”

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said high-speed broadband delivers “critical” online learning environments to help students transition to newly created tech jobs.

“Our mission is to continue enhancing the value of the community’s investment as a powerful catalyst for economic growth, innovation and quality of life,” EPB President and CEO Harold DePriest said.