Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke to Speak at "Summons to Memphis"


Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke
  • Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke gets right to the point. “We can’t have digital gated communities,” he told CNN in a recent report about his city’s plan to make high-speed internet available to its poorest public school students. “The power of the web should be an equalizer,” he continued, “not something that creates greater inequity.”

Berke, whose tenure in office has witnessed dramatic drops in crime and bank foreclosures, visits Shelby County next week to talk about his city’s makeover at “A Summons to Memphis,” the popular luncheon series hosted by Memphis magazine, this Thursday, June 2nd, at University of Memphis Holiday Inn.

Chattanooga’s no longer the grubby little factory town that CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite called out for having the worst air quality in America. The air and water is clean again. The vistas are green, and its free public Wi-Fi service has been described as a national model. The dirtiest city in America has been rechristened the “Gig City” and a “playground for pioneers,” because it offers residents and businesses access to one of the fastest and most fully developed fiber and internet services in the world, installed and administered by its publicly owned electric power system.

So, just how fast are Chattanooga’s 10 gigabits-per-second internet connections? Well, 10 gigabits equals 10,000 megabits, and Memphis’ current internet speeds top out at between 70 to 75 megabits-per-second for downloads and significantly less for uploads. In practical, home-use terms, with Chattanooga’s 10 gigabits-per-second system, internet users can fully download an entire HD movie in about three seconds. When it comes to business applications, well … how big’s your imagination?

"Summons to Memphis" runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The $50 ticket price includes lunch. Tickets may be purchased at

To read more about Berke, check out this article on Memphis magazine's website.

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