QUITMAN — C Spire’s plans to offer consumer broadband Internet service in Quitman and eight other Mississippi cities moved a step closer to reality with the start of construction this week on its ultra-high speed 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) Fiber to the Home initiative.
C Spire crews began installing fiber optic cable in Quitman this week. Quitman is the first city to qualify its entire population for the game-changing infrastructure.
C Spire COO Kevin Hankins noted that C Spire is building the first statewide 1 Gbps fiber to the home network in the U.S. The initiative already represents the largest single deployment of this infrastructure – in terms of total cities at one time – in North America, according to C Spire.
“Fiber to the Home is a transformative technology for communities, serving as a platform for innovation and new Internet experiences yet to be imagined,” Hankins said. “We’re going to show the world that Quitman and other C Spire fiber cities in Mississippi are ready to become hubs for technology investment, economic growth and job creation.”
Nine Mississippi cities, including Batesville, Clinton, Corinth, Hattiesburg, Horn Lake, McComb, Quitman, Ridgeland and Starkville, were selected by C Spire last November for the technology after the company said it would use its 4,600 miles of fiber optic infrastructure and spend millions of dollars to connect cities in the first phase.
Homeowner pre-registration began last December. Since that time, local government, community and business leaders have rallied residents in four of the cities to pre-register at levels that qualify six areas, including the entire town of Quitman, for the service. Hankins said interest is high in the next-generation service with thousands of homeowners in 80 of the 81 specially-designed fiberhoods paying a $10 fee and pre-registering for the service. The company expects more areas in additional cities to qualify soon.
While construction is starting in Quitman, Hankins said work is also underway in other C Spire fiber cities. C Spire crews began laying fiber optic cable for last mile connections in Ridgeland neighborhoods earlier this month. Construction in Starkville should begin next month.
Hankins said the strong support and engagement from cities is the primary reason for the fast-moving initiative’s success thus far. When it launches service in the first C Spire Fiber cities later this summer, the company will have moved from vision to reality in less than 12 months. In comparison, Google took nearly three years before it selected and began offering Gigabit fiber service in Kansas City, Kansas. “Our initiative is a great example of what can be accomplished when cities, communities and business leaders work together to move Mississippi forward,” he said.
Quitman Mayor Eddie Fulton, who recruited volunteers to help his Clarke County town qualify for the service, said C Spire’s initiative is the most important development for his city in the last half century. “It’s a God send … we’re ecstatic to say the least. Having fiber optics in our city is a tremendous gateway to the future and will open the door to opportunities we could only dream about before.”