C Spire rolls out Alabama broadband services in Jasper; More areas to be connected soon
C Spire, making good on its promise, began connecting its first Alabama customers this month to the company’s ultra-fast, fiber-based Gigabit broadband internet services.
The privately-held Mississippi-based telecommunications and technology company (with no affiliation with the gas company Spire) earlier this year had pledged to roll out its services in parts of Jasper and Trussville.
On Wednesday, C Spire announced that some Jasper residents are officially the first in Alabama to receive the game-changing services; meanwhile, parts of Trussville are set to start receiving the services later this month.
C Spire executives celebrated the milestone with a press briefing in front of the home of Dr. Gary Cowen, one of the first customers to receive the services and a member of the Jasper City Council.
“The installation was smooth, the internet access is super-fast and now I can really move forward with my smart home plans,” Cowen advised.
As the first city in the Yellowhammer State to receive C Spire Fiber, Jasper Mayor David O’Mary explained that the municipality plans to leverage the vital broadband infrastructure to help continue the city’s progress in improving the quality of life for residents, small businesses and industry.
“C Spire Fiber will help us add jobs, diversify and grow our economy well into the future,” the mayor noted.
Alabama Power’s existing fiber infrastructure will be 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 2018’s HB 400; that year’s SB 90 was also a crucial piece of legislation expanding broadband access across Alabama.
Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper), who championed that critical legislation, stated on Wednesday that the partnership with C Spire and others will help the state achieve its broadband objectives. The Yellowhammer State ranks 38th in the nation in broadband access, 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.
“Alabama’s economic future depends on bridging the digital divide for small towns and rural communities like ours throughout the state, and the addition of C Spire’s high-speed, all-fiber broadband internet service to Jasper and Walker County will benefit all of us,” Reed remarked.
“This is truly a game-changer when you think about school children embracing online learning and many parents working at home right now due to the public health emergency,” he added. ”Faster, better broadband internet connectivity also helps attract new businesses and the jobs they bring. That’s a win-win for everybody. We are greatly appreciative to have a wonderful company like C Spire investing in Alabama’s infrastructure and its people.”
Additional communities, including Pelham, Helena, Northport, Tuscaloosa and parts of Mobile County, have reportedly executed franchise agreements with C Spire and are on the drawing board for construction and service in 2021.
As part of its expansion efforts, C Spire is also actively soliciting interest from other Alabama communities and towns who want faster and more reliable broadband internet service; the company’s crowdsourcing model relies on local homeowner, business and renter demand to drive adoption.
“We’re excited about bringing high-capacity fiber broadband services, which rely on a transformational and truly revolutionary technology infrastructure that will boost home and business values, broaden entertainment opportunities, help expand local economies and improve the quality of life for residents in Jasper and other parts of Alabama,” stated Ashley Phillips, general manager of C Spire Home.
“Fiber’s symmetric speeds – for example up to 940 Megabits per second upstream and downstream – are particularly important for interactive learning, remote work and telehealth applications beyond streaming video or surfing the web, which rely on fast download internet speeds,” he continued.
Alabama residents who want to order C Spire Fiber or express their interest in the suite of services should click here.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn