C Spire Fiber bringing high-speed internet service to Helena, Pelham, Alabaster
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 the Shelby County cities of Helena and Pelham — with Alabaster expected to begin soon.
The broadband division of C Spire, which is a Mississippi-based telecommunications company, began construction on next-generation technology in February in four fiberhoods in Helena and Pelham. The company has plans to pass thousands of homes covering 30 more fiberhoods over the next several months. In addition to the residential fiber, C Spire will also be bringing fiber internet to businesses in parts of northern Shelby County as well.
Ashley Phillips, general manager of C Spire Home said in a statement, “We understand high-speed, all-fiber broadband internet service can be a game-changer for Helena, Pelham and Alabaster. 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 Fiber Fast initiative continues.”
It should also be noted that C Spire is expected to announce additional markets soon, including the cities of Northport and Tuscaloosa and unincorporated areas of Tuscaloosa and Mobile counties.
“Fast, dependable and affordable broadband is critical to quality of life, home values and new jobs in our city,” stated Helena Mayor J. Brian Puckett.
“We appreciate C Spire choosing Pelham for this game-changing infrastructure investment,” added Pelham Mayor Gary W. Waters.
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.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn