LOWNDES COUNTY, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch
In a recent unanimous vote, the Lowndes County BoS approved a 25-year franchise agreement allowing C*Spire to spread its high-speed fiber internet infrastructure throughout the county. The aim is to start from their existing fiber lines (which are mostly in or near cities) and expand into as many rural areas as practical, in order to give as many residents as possible access to fast fiber internet, TV, and phone-via-VOIP access where their options may have been few or even non-existent in the past.
C Spire will construct the infrastructure needed, and they will also be 100% be responsible for maintaining and restoring the areas where this has been done.
The County will receve a 5% share of customer revenue from the TV service, similar to the extant deal with Sparklight.
District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks spoke of an encounter in the past with a constituent whose lack of access to these services was jeopardizing her job: “I think to be able to expand internet systems is a major plus,” Brooks said. “It’s going to help facilitate economic development and growth.”
C Spire spokesman Dave Miller explained the difference between the gigabit ethernet speed which their company offers and those of its competitors; he said that this service is about 10x the current average speed. According to each of their own websites, AT&T offers speeds up to 18 MB/second, and SParklight, up to 300MB/second; C*Spire’s Gigabit service offers 1,000MB/sec speed.
“We basically go into areas and we do the research and we figure out if there’s interest there and we make the ultimate decision if we decide to build directly,” Miller went on to say. “We are determining areas we believe, based on research, statistics and information, there’s a need for broadband. We talk to homeowners association, talk to the chambers (of commerce), we talk to the elected officials, we talk to local organizations (and) we put all the information into the decision making and that’s how we make a determination.”
Miller added that those interested in receiving higher speed internet can register their address online at www.cspire.com/fiber. “Even though a response will come back saying we are not building in that area, we take that data and that residence becomes a pin on the map,” Miller said. “If we get enough pins within a geographical area, that triggers our potential interest in building there.”
C*Spire is no stranger to the area, having brought gigabit internet speed to Starkville starting in 2013.
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