C Spire’s challenge to communities to compete in its Fiber-to-the-Home contest attracted an energetic field of those seeking high-speed Internet connections.
Corinth and Starkville, both early entrants in the competition, were announced Monday among the nine finalists who will get the connection, but the next phase will determine who gets it first.
Batesville, Clinton, Hattiesburg, Horn Lake, McComb, Quitman and Ridgeland also are among the finalists. The incentive in the contest is Internet service 100 times faster than what’s in their communities now. In return, C Spire has generated enormous free publicity and will have long-term contracts with the communities.
All the finalists now must sign up households, including a $10 refundable deposit, as they begin the next phase to bring in the new service. The first recipient will be determined by the number and density of signed-up commitments.
C Spire, a Mississippi-based cellular company, unveiled its 1 Gigabit-per-second initiative in September, promoting it as “magnets for investment and economic growth by bringing the technology of tomorrow to thousands of homes in cities, towns and neighborhoods in its service area.”
Cellular South, as C Spire originally was known, was founded in 1988, and remains a privately owned wireless provider with approximately 1,100 employees that mainly operates in Mississippi, coastal Alabama and the Memphis area.
It’s the second-largest wireless provider within that geographic footprint, behind AT&T.
The most immediate benefit for participating communities has been the unified effort – public sector, private sector, institutions and interest groups – joining resources to convince C Spire the efforts were serious and sustainable.
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman noted that the nine Mississippi cities join only 60 in the nation offering such fast download speeds to their citizens, and that is a positive in economic development by any measure.
The speed and frequency with which cellular and Internet communication unfolds dwarfs even the landmark advances of the late 19th, 20th and earlier 21st century. All communities face decisions about how to keep up with their in-state competitors.
C Spire is updating its website at www.cspire.com/fiberhome so that cities can track their progress in real time.