CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – Chattanooga has been recognized with a national award for its fiber optic internet network.

Chattanooga was recognized with the Cornerstone Award at the 2011 Broadband Properties Summit in Dallas, Texas, for building America's largest fiber-to-the-home network.

Representatives from EPB were on hand to receive the Cornerstone Award for "Inspiring a community with gigabit service" based on judging by an independent committee of broadband industry leaders, analysts and writers. 

The award is the latest in a string of national and international awards recognizing Chattanooga's fiber optic network, which is capable of delivering gigabit Internet speeds to every home and business in a 600 square mile area.

Last October, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) honored EPB's network as the Community Broadband Project of the Year, and in January, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named Chattanooga to its world-wide list of Top Seven Intelligent Communities.

Chattanooga is also in contention for the ICF's Intelligent Community of the Year award, which will be announced on June 3.

"Chattanooga continues to distinguish itself for offering a technology platform that sets us apart from every other community in the U.S. and all but a handful in the world," said City of Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield. "We are the best place in America for entrepreneurs who are working to define the future of the Internet as everyone else will experience it in five to ten years."

"We've raised Chattanooga in the national consciousness," said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. "Major publications are including us at the top of their lists for quality living and economic potential. That's because our community has recruited a number of companies with world-wide name recognition, but we're not resting on past successes."

According to Harold DePriest, president and CEO of EPB, Chattanooga's reputation in technology circles has undergone a rapid transformation.

"When we first started telling people what we were doing in Chattanooga, they couldn't believe it," DePriest said. "Now, major technology companies are visiting to get a first-hand look and a number of tech bloggers are holding us up as a national model."

"This is the next frontier of our job creation strategy," said Tom Edd Wilson, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. "Thanks to the strength and resilience of our existing industries and our success in recruiting major companies despite the economic turmoil of recent years, Chattanooga is where most other communities in the world would like to be. Our next great opportunity is aligning our economic momentum with our technology platform and other assets as a catalyst for the emergence and growth of many more home grown companies."