Jobs / Future / Connected Workforce – Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee, home of VW in North America, has now joined the rarefied ranks of ‘intelligent cities’ — Chattanooga is the only U.S. city with a population of over 100,000 that has achieved this designation.

An intelligent city is one where the intersection of information technology and urban design are planned together with intent to unite information availability and information flow with business, homes and the workforce.

Despite Chattanooga’s access to broadband speeds of 50 Mbps connections (average connectivity speed in the U.S. is 6.7 mps), the telecom giants and lobbyists are busy at work convincing states to block power grid broadband delivery from happening. Nineteen states have passed laws that block local governments from setting up publicly-owned broadband services — which has proven to be the most common method of building such networks.

We should look to private industry to efficiently deliver solutions and capabilities that meet public needs. Certainly high speed internet that can be delivered anywhere over a power grid would be such a service, especially lightning fast broadband that puts most broadband to shame. Unfortunately this technology is being hindered and heldback because much of the private sector has not yet figured out how to create a delivery grid that can compete with the power grid which already exists in our homes and businesses.


Chattanooga, Tennessee (pop 167,000), has leapt to the forefront of American cities with ultra high-speed broadband service and has accomplished the feat in a surprisingly old-fashioned way: the city’s municipally-owned electric utility provides the service. Tennessee’s fourth-largest city is now a member of a small, but elite group of world-class cities that can offer residents and businesses Internet service of up to one gigabit per second, 200 times faster than the average broadband speed in America, according to The New York Times.

Harnessing Intellectual Capital

From Ross Honeywill, Australian futurist and business consultant: “The urban fabric of the world is changing as key cities turn their backs on the traditional economy and move towards an intelligent future. An Intelligent City is characterized by its place in the new- or neo-economy with a commitment to cultural capital, innovative environments, diversity, high social intelligence and digital leadership.

It typically has diversity in social relationships, a high capacity for imagination and innovation central to the creativity of its population and its institutions of knowledge creation; and a rapidly evolving digital infrastructure for communication and knowledge management.