C Spire said May 8 that it has launched construction of a planned statewide fiber-optic network that would support 1-Gbps fiber to the home (FTTH) connections in Mississippi. The service provider asserts the network will be the first in the U.S. to provide 1-Gbps FTTH services across an entire state.
The company held a press conference to mark the laying of fiber-optic cable in the Bridgewater neighborhood of Ridgeland, one of nine communities on which C Spire will focus its efforts initially. Other communities include Batesville, Clinton, Corinth, Hattiesburg, Horn Lake, McComb, Quitman, and Starkville. In addition to the activities in Bridgewater, C Spire says it also has begun infrastructure deployment in Quitman and will soon begin work in Horn Lake and Starkville.
C Spire announced the effort last fall. Borrowing a page from Google, it issued an RFI to communities in the state who might want to receive 1 Gbps FTTH service. While C Spire originally planned to select a single community from among the RFI respondents, it expanded its initial target to the nine communities in light of the significant interest shown .
Again mimicking Google, C Spire then encouraged citizens in each of the nine communities’ neighborhoods to sign up for service, with those neighborhoods reaching a predetermined target percentage of registrants receiving service first. C Spire reports that all of the “fiberhoods” in Quitman reached their quotas. In all, four of the cities have seen enough pre-register to qualify six areas for FTTH deployments, C Spire says, with the expectation that other neighborhoods would reach qualification levels soon. Pre-registration is expected to remain open through the end of this year.
The new network is expected to improve quality of life, boost business activities, and increase jobs throughout the state. “Fiber to the Home is a transformative technology for communities, serving as a platform for innovation and new Internet experiences yet to be imagined,” said C Spire CEO Hu Meena at the press conference. “We’re going to show the world that Mississippi is ready to become a hub for technology investment, economic growth, and job creation.”
Added FTTH Council Americas President Heather Burnett Gold, who also attended the press conference, “Increasingly, communities and companies around the U.S. are recognizing the power that FTTH brings, and we’re glad to be celebrating in Mississippi, a state that has not traditionally led the digital charge, but where individuals, communities and technology companies like C Spire recognize that they must take control of their own broadband destinies to secure a high-tech future.”
C Spire says it expects to begin offering services on its new FTTH infrastructure this summer.