RIDGELAND, Mississippi – Neighborhoods in Horn Lake and Starkville and the entire town of Quitman are the first three Mississippi cities to exceed requirements and qualify for C Spire’s high-speed fiber network to the home.
A Ridgeland neighborhood is expected to qualify later this week.
A specified percentage of homeowner pre-registrations was needed to qualify for the 1 Gigabit per second Internet service. The three area met their targets over the weekend, paving the way for C Spire to launch the engineering and construction phases of its fiber optics technology initiative.
The 1 gig Internet speed will be up to 100 times faster than national average broadband speeds.
“Fiber to the home is a transformative technology, serving as a platform for innovation and new Internet experiences that have yet to be imagined,” said Hu Meena, president and CEO of C Spire. “We’re truly impressed with the early and strong support for this initiative and we look forward to demonstrating the power of Internet at the speed of light as we turn up service in the first C Spire Fiber cities in Mississippi. This initiative is a great example of what can be accomplished when cities, communities and business leaders work together to move Mississippi forward.”
Homeowner pre-registration for the service began last December in Batesville, Clinton, Corinth, Hattiesburg, Horn Lake, McComb, Quitman, Ridgeland and Starkville, who were selected by C Spire as finalists for the nation’s first and only statewide roll out of next-generation Internet access, premium HD digital television and home phone services.
Since that time, local government, community and business leaders in the nine Mississippi cities have rallied residents to pre-register for the service at percentage levels that would qualify their areas to be among the first for C Spire’s build out of the service. All of the cities have campaigns underway and many are making steady progress, but efforts in three cities paid early dividends over the weekend.
With community volunteers canvassing neighborhoods over the weekend, Horn Lake qualified its first fiberhood (Allen) and was followed quickly by the city of Quitman and the South Montgomery fiberhood in Starkville, according to Jared Baumann, brand product manager for C Spire’s consumer fiber services.
“It’s very exciting for our city,” said Horn Lake Mayor Alan Latimer. “This technology will put us at the front of the line for higher-paying jobs, more technology investment and a better quality of life.” Horn Lake and other parts of DeSoto County are among the state’s fastest growing areas.
Quitman Mayor Eddie Fulton, who recruited an army of community, education and neighborhood volunteers to help his Clarke County town qualify for the service, said C Spire’s initiative is the most important development in the last half century for his city. “It’s a godsend … 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.”
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman, who traveled around the country studying how a handful of other U.S. cities managed to gain similar technology, said the three cities’ progress represents “a historic moment” for Mississippi. “It’s really incredible to know that we get to share this moment and that this will be the first multi-city deployment of Gigabit service in the U.S. It’s not every day that you get to be part of something that is truly groundbreaking and game-changing.”
Latimer, Fulton and Wiseman all said they intend to continue efforts to sign up the remaining areas in their cities for Gigabit infrastructure. “We’re in this for the long haul and we will continue to work hard to get every one of our 15 fiberhoods qualified for this service,” Latimer said.
“We signed up over 100 residents on Saturday alone and have over half of our town, but I let everybody know that our job is not done just because we exceeded our percentage goal,” Fulton said. “We need to keep pushing for more pre-registrations because I want 100 percent of our town to experience the benefits of this infrastructure.”
“This is just the start,” Wiseman said. “We have nine other fiberhoods in our city and by the time we are finished, we plan to have all of them over the percentage threshold and successfully in the program. We’ll take a moment to celebrate getting over our first hurdle, but we’ll get right back to work to ensure that this service gets extended everywhere in our community.”
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.
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 a month for Internet and 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.
“There’s a tremendous amount of excitement in each of these communities and a strong desire to be among the first to receive the 1 Gig Internet service to the home,” Meena said. “We’re looking forward to bringing tomorrow’s technology to these Mississippi communities today because we know that this service has the power to transform communities into hubs for technology investment, economic growth and job creation.”
Baumann said C Spire hopes to start turning up 1 Gig service in the first C Spire Fiber neighborhoods by this summer. The service is expected to pave the way for improvements in the areas of healthcare, education, civic life, municipal services and economic growth.
To learn more about C Spire’s Fiber to the Home initiative, visit www.cspire.com/fiberhome.