RIDGELAND, Mississippi — C Spire says more areas in Ridgeland are poised to qualify for the company’s 100 times faster consumer broadband Internet service now that new “fiberhood” maps have been published on C Spire’s company’s fiber to the home website.
The new maps, which debuted Friday, reduce the size of several fiberhoods and the corresponding number of households needed to pre-register for the Gigabit-speed Internet and related digital TV and home phone services.
Pre-registration levels remain at either 35 or 45 percent for each fiberhood, but redrawing the boundaries should make it easier to see progress in qualifying neighborhoods for the new service, according to Jared Baumann, market development and deployment manager for C Spire’s consumer fiber services.
“We’ve worked very closely with city leaders on these maps and the changes rolled out today reflect the reality that it is easier to qualify areas for construction if they are smaller in size,” Baumann said. “With smaller fiberhoods, the results of grassroots efforts by residents are more dramatic and encourage more homeowners to pre-register to get this infrastructure in their neighborhood.”
In some cases, the company removed large apartment complexes and related buildings that were already under long-term or exclusive agreements with other broadband providers, resulting in the elimination of the Towne Center fiberhood.
Baumann said the company is not closing the door on future construction of the infrastructure for apartment complexes. He said C Spire will consider those buildings if owners approach it and request the service. He also encouraged renters who want high-speed connections to inform building managers.
In addition to eliminating the Towne Center fiberhood, the company made the following changes:
- Divided the Central fiber hood into two separate fiberhoods – a Central South and a Central North fiberhood. The pre-registration percentage requirement for both areas remains at 35 percent.
- Created a separate fiberhood for the Montrachet, Muirwood and Camden Park areas by removing them from the Ann Smith fiberhood. The new fiber hood comprised of the three neighborhoods has a 35 percent pre-registration requirement.
- Reduced the size of the newly configured Ann Smith fiberhood. The pre-registration percentage requirement is 45 percent.
- Reduced the size of the Reservoir and Southeast fiberhoods. The pre-registration percentage requirement remains at 35 percent for both areas.
While Friday’s changes only affect six of the 11 areas in Ridgeland under consideration for the service,
C Spire is considering making changes in other cities with similar circumstances, Baumann said.
“We want to ensure that this infrastructure is available everywhere residents want to experience the quality of life improvements that accompany this technology and the resulting economic and social benefits,” Baumann said.
C Spire began installing fiber optic cable in Ridgeland’s Bridgewater neighborhood earlier this month and plans to expand those efforts to the Old Agency East fiberhood, which includes Dinsmor and several other areas, soon. A third area in Ridgeland, Highland Colony North, is expected to reach its pre-registration target soon and qualify for construction.
Baumann said the company wants to move Mississippi from worst to first in national rankings for average Internet speeds and consumer access to super-fast broadband services. C Spire is building the first statewide 1 Gbps fiber to the home network in the United States. The initiative already represents the largest single deployment of this infrastructure – in terms of total cities at one time – in North America.
In addition to Ridgeland, C Spire last November selected Batesville, Clinton, Corinth, Hattiesburg, Horn Lake, McComb, Quitman and Starkville for what it calls its “game-changing technology.” The selections came 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. 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 has started in Ridgeland, work is also underway in other C Spire Fiber cities. C Spire crews are laying backbone fiber optic cable for last mile connections in Quitman and construction should begin early next month in Starkville.
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, Kan.
Pre-registration remains open in all nine C Spire Fiber cities. Residents are required to make a $10 refundable deposit and indicate their interest for specific services. As long as they continue to make progress, the company plans to keep pre-registration open in the nine cities through the end of the year.
For C Spire customers, the 1 Gbps Internet access will be available for $70 a month, $90 a month for combined Internet and home phone, $130 for Internet and HD digital TV and $150 a month for the entire package of all three services. Non customers will be required to pay an additional $10 a month on all packages.