‘Game-changing’: C Spire bringing high-speed broadband internet services to Tuscaloosa, Northport
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 Tuscaloosa and Northport — with unincorporated parts of Tuscaloosa County to soon follow.
The broadband division of C Spire, which is a Mississippi-based telecommunications company, began construction on the next-generation technology Thursday in four fiberhoods in the two cities. The company has plans to pass thousands of homes covering 50 more fiberhoods 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 Tuscaloosa, Northport 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.”
In addition to the residential fiber, C Spire will also be bringing fiber internet to businesses in these markets as well.
“High-speed fiber connectivity is crucial for businesses in today’s world. We are pleased to be bringing our fiber internet along with our suite of business services to the Tuscaloosa area,” said Allen McIntosh, general manager of C Spire Business.
Tuscaloosa County, including the City of Tuscaloosa with the state’s fifth-largest population and Northport with a population of 26,000, are the latest Alabama markets currently in line for the ultra-fast broadband services from C Spire Fiber. The company already has rolled out service in the Jasper, Trussville, Helena and Pelham markets and is expected to announce additional markets soon.
“Fast, dependable and affordable broadband is critical to quality of life, home values and new jobs in our city,” commented Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.
“We appreciate C Spire choosing Northport for this game-changing infrastructure investment,” added Northport Mayor Bobby Herndon.
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