January 14, 2013 9:48:45 AM
Officials with the city of Starkville visited with the president of the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association and met with members of the Chattanooga Electric Power Board last week.
Mayor Parker Wiseman said he had an informative discussion with the Chattanooga EPB about the city's broadband program, which is the fastest in the nation, delivering one gigabyte-per-second Internet.
"We learned a lot about how they are providing these extremely high quality Internet services and how they have implemented their communication system for the electrical service," Wiseman said.
In the event of an outage, many places in Chattanooga can maintain or restore power without actually having to get personnel out to the problem areas.
Starkville is in the infant stages of a fiber optic program, having just finished the first phase of the project in December. The network will provide the Starkville Electric Department a platform to enhance data collection and eventually allow utilization of automatic meter reading.
In December, SED General Manager Terry Kemp said the installation of the Automatic Meter Infrastructure system could begin as early as this spring.
Wiseman said that the AMI system won't elevate Starkville to Chattanooga's level, but that it will definitely be a huge customer service plus.
"When there is an issue with your power, Starkville Electric is going to know," Wiseman said. "When you have a water leak, Starkville Electric is going to know, and they are going to let you know."
The completion of the first phase of the fiber optic loop also opens the door for a public Wi-Fi network. Wiseman said the equipment, routers and cables, have arrived and will be installed soon.
According to Wiseman, Chattanooga's technological focus is a big reason Tennessee's fourth largest city grew eight percent last year. Chattanooga has also received several accolades for its quality of life, including three national awards for "livability."
As for the meeting with the TVPPA Board, President Jack Simmons briefed city leaders on efforts to improve member services. The TVPPA Board is the organization for all of the electric distributors in the Tennessee Valley area.