Mississippi is on its Way to Increased National Internet Speed Rankings

Installation of fiber optics cable kicks off in Quitman, Miss., showing that C Spire Wireless aims to build the first statewide 1 Gbps fiber to the home network in the U.S.

by The Meridian Star, Miss., McClatchy News Service / May 30, 2014

Construction kicked off this week in Quitman, Miss., to install ultra-high speed fiber optics cable that C Spire Wireless officials said will offer service 100 times faster than broadband Internet.

The fiber optics cable is rated to handle 1 gigabit per second of data, company officials said at a Wednesday press conference in Quitman.

C Spire crews began installing the fiber optic cable this week, "marking another milestone in the Mississippi company’s mission to move the Magnolia state from worst to first in national rankings for average Internet speeds and consumer access to super-fast broadband services," a C Spire press release states.

"Quitman is the first city to qualify its entire population for the game-changing infrastructure," according to the press release.

Quitman Mayor Eddie Fulton, Clarke County Supervisor Mickey Long and other government, business and community leaders and dignitaries joined C Spire COO Kevin Hankins Wednesday at the news conference to announce the start of construction.

Hankins said 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, he said.

“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 announced 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 fiber-hoods paying a $10 fee and pre-registering for the service. The company expects more areas in additional cities to qualify soon.

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 for his city in the last half century.

“It’s a God send … we’re ecstatic to say the least," Fulton said. "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.”

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, Hankins said the company plans to keep pre-registration open 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.

To pre-register or learn more about C Spire Fiber to the Home, visit www.cspire.com/fiberhome.

©2014 The Meridian Star (Meridian, Miss.)