STARKVILLE, Miss.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Starkville, named after Revolutionary War hero Gen. John Stark, is on the cusp of its own 21st century technology revolution that promises to transform Mississippi’s college town into a hub for future investment and growth.
That’s because construction started this week in this picturesque Oktibbeha County town on an ultra-high speed 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) Fiber to the Home initiative, part of C Spire’s quest to offer 100 times faster consumer broadband Internet service and related digital TV and home phone services.
C Spire crews began installing fiber optic cable in Starkville 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.
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman and a host of other government, business and community leaders and dignitaries joined C Spire executives at a news conference Tuesday to celebrate the historic development.
Suzy Hays, senior vice president of Consumer Markets for C Spire, noted that the company 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.
“Fiber to the Home is a transformative technology for communities, serving as a platform for innovation and new Internet experiences yet to be imagined,” Hays said. “We’re going to show the world that Starkville 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 game-changing technology after the company said it would use its thousands of 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 two in Starkville, for the service. Hays 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.
Starkville was the first city to qualify multiple areas of its town for the game-changing infrastructure. Earlier this year, two areas in the city – South Montgomery and Timbercove – exceeded the required levels of homeowner pre-registration for the service. A third area in the city, the Cotton District, is expected to reach its pre-registration target soon.
While construction is starting in Starkville, Hays 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 last month and construction began in Quitman earlier this month.
Hays 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,” she said.
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman, who traveled around the country studying how a handful of other U.S. cities managed to gain similar technology in his efforts to get the infrastructure in his town, said interest is only going to grow as the city moves into the next phases of construction and actual delivery of the next-generation services.
“Now that construction has started, it’s a very visible sign that we are on the verge of making this a reality,” Wiseman said. “But when the technology becomes available in households, then it becomes something that you can experience and go tell your friends and neighbors about. It’s one thing to say that you have Internet 100 times faster than anything currently available on the market, but it’s quite another thing to experience it and see what it’s like up close and personal.”
Wiseman said a key factor in the city’s success thus far has been community volunteers going door to door in Starkville neighborhoods educating residents on the benefits and value of ultra-high speed Internet access. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the single most effective method for educating consumers and generating excitement about the possibilities of this technology is people having one on one conversations on doorsteps about the implications of this opportunity for our city,” he said.
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 cities continue to make progress, Hays 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.
About C Spire
C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class, customer-inspired wireless communications, 1 Gigabit consumer Internet access as well as a full suite of dedicated Internet, wireless, IP Voice, data and cloud services for businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.