EPB Says Success Of Fiberoptics Program Helps Schools, Local Governments

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thank to the success of its fiberoptics division, EPB is infusing more cash into the county schools and local governments, officials said Friday.

Greg Eaves, finance director, said EPB paid over $6.1 million in lieu of taxes to the city of Chattanooga.

He said $622,000 of that amount was from the division that includes TV, phone and Internet.

There was another $2 million to other local governments, including about $800,000 to the county, he said.

Harold DePriest, EPB president, said, "We are able to give more money to the schools, and that's good news."

Officials said over 20 percent of the in lieu of taxes payments are now coming from fiberoptics, which now has nearly 174,000 customers.

Mr. Eaves said fiberoptics still has a debt of $66.7 million, but he said that is being paid down by several million dollars per year.

Fiberoptics had $6.8 million in revenues in January.

Mr. DePriest said it has grown from 50 employees to 150. He said that number should stay at about that level - at least until new orders for service start slowing down.

He also said that the Smart Grid helped keep customers online in two recent instances.

In one case, he said it was 100 percent effective in preventing an outage.

In another - when a tree fell on a main line on Pineridge Road - he said the Smart Grid kept all but about 500 customers with power out of 12,000 on the line. He said a dispatcher was able to get the other 500 back in service within a few minutes.


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