C Spire names Get Fiber First finalists for 1-Gbps FTTH - Lightwave

C Spire names Get Fiber First finalists for 1-Gbps FTTH

C Spire named nine Mississippi cities finalists for the first deployment of its planned statewide 1-Gbps fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) initiative. Batesville, Clinton, Corinth, Hattiesburg, Horn Lake, McComb, Quitman, Ridgeland, and Starkville will vie for the honor of being the first community to receive the operator’s upcoming high-speed broadband service.

Taking a page from Google’s nationwide FTTH RFP (see “Google evaluates FTTH submissions”), C Spire announced a “Get Fiber First Challenge” when it unveiled its FTTH plans September 24. The company invited Mississippi communities to submit applications that made the case for becoming C Spire’s first gigabit city. Thirty-three communities responded, C Spire says.

The effort also caught the attention of the Fiber to the Home Council, which made yesterday’s announcement the centerpiece of its “Gimme Fiber” Day initiative in North America. The Gimme Fiber effort aimed to galvanize activists worldwide to urge their local providers and governments to support the provision of gigabit-speed services via deployment of FTTH broadband access networks.

“We are incredibly excited to be recognizing C Spire and the state of Mississippi during our inaugural Gimme Fiber Day celebration,” said FTTH Council President Heather Burnett Gold. “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.”

A C Spire review panel selected the finalists based on such factors as proximity to the company’s existing fiber-optic infrastructure, community mobilization capabilities, and incentives to accelerate the construction process and reduce overall costs. The application review process was monitored and the results tabulated by Ridgeland-based Horne LLP, an independent public accounting and business advisory firms.

The service provider, best known for its wireless portfolio, says that the strength of the applications led it to name more finalists than planned.

“We are truly impressed with the overwhelming show of support for C Spire’s fiber to the home deployment and the tremendous interest and demand for making this service a reality for the residents in these communities,” said Hu Meena, president and CEO of C Spire. “The positive response we’ve received only strengthens our determination to bring 100-times-faster Internet, and the limitless possibilities that come along with it, to as many people as we can because we know that this service has the power to transform our state into a hub for technology investment and economic growth.”

The next phase of the competition will see the communities vie to be the fastest to pre-register potential subscribers in designated neighborhoods at percentage levels C Spire will set. The first to reach their designated percentage levels will be the first to see trucks roll; it is possible that C Spire will begin work in multiple communities simultaneously, company a company spokesman acknowledged.

The clock will start ticking on the registration process as soon as C Spire launches an updated version of its fiber-related website, www.cspire.com/fiberhome. That will happen “soon,” the company promises. Residents who pre-register on the site will be asked to make a $10 refundable deposit and provide credit card information. Again like Google Fiber, the website also will feature interactive maps of eligible neighborhoods that show how close each one is to reaching its goal.

C Spire says it will offer the 1-Gbps Internet access for $80 a month. Other packages include $100 a month for combined Internet and home phone, $140 a month for Internet and digital TV, and $160 a month for the entire package. C Spire Wireless customers will receive an additional $10 monthly discount on all packages.

The company hopes to begin turning up services by the middle of next year.

For more information on FTTx equipment and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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