C Spire bringing high-speed broadband internet services to rural Mobile County
C Spire Fiber on Thursday announced it is now accepting consumer pre-orders and has already begun construction for its ultra-fast, fiber-based Gigabit broadband internet services in unincorporated parts of Mobile County — the latest in a spate of markets the company is expanding into in Alabama.
The broadband division of C Spire, which is a Mississippi-based telecommunications company, began construction on the next-generation technology last month in 22 fiberhoods with plans to pass thousands of homes over the next several months.
Service is planned for the first customers this summer.
“High-speed, all-fiber broadband internet service can be a game-changer for Mobile County and other Alabama communities,” stated Ashley Phillips, general manager of C Spire Home. “Our ability to provide symmetric speeds immediately solves real-world challenges associated with interactive learning, remote work and telehealth applications. That’s good news as our FiberFast initiative continues.”
Mobile County, with a population of nearly 179,000 outside of the city of Mobile and 10 other cities, will be one of the latest Alabama markets to get the ultra-fast broadband services from C Spire Fiber. The company already has rolled out service in the Jasper, Trussville and Helena markets and is starting construction in Northport and Tuscaloosa soon. Construction is underway in Pelham.
“Fast, dependable and affordable broadband is critical to quality of life, home values and new jobs in our communities,” said Merceria L. Ludgood, president of the Mobile County Commission. “We appreciate C Spire choosing Mobile County for this game-changing investment.”
Thursday’s news was made possible by a partnership between Alabama Power and C Spire that was announced in 2019.
Alabama Power’s existing fiber infrastructure is being used for what is called “the middle mile,” while C Spire will in some areas build out “the last mile,” which is an industry term meaning the final portion connecting the service to a consumer’s residence or business (the length is not always a mile or even close to it — it can be a matter of feet or several miles). This type of partnership between an electric utility provider and broadband services provider was enabled by 2019’s HB 400; that year’s SB 90 was also a crucial piece of legislation expanding broadband access across Alabama.
Alabama ranks 47th in the nation in broadband connectivity, and state leaders have recently formed the Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition — a group of community, business and governmental leaders dedicated to job creation, economic development and business growth — to change this dire statistic. The coalition in 2019 championed HB 400 and SB 90.
One of the results of the coalition’s work ultimately came to fruition in January, when C Spire announced a $500 million investment in fiber broadband infrastructure expansion in Alabama over a five-year period. The company’s deployment of all-fiber symmetrical infrastructure and ultra-fast broadband internet ultimately helps attract industry and improve Alabamians’ quality of life.
As part of its expansion efforts, C Spire is also is actively seeking interest from other Alabama communities and towns seeking more reliable and faster broadband internet service based on the firm’s crowdsourcing model, which relies on homeowner, business and renter demand to drive adoption.
“More Alabamians need to be participants in the digital economy – not spectators,” stated U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL). “Gigabit internet is a powerful solution to the digital divide in our state and will benefit the people and businesses in Mobile County.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn