fiber optics rack

C Spire today announced a $1 billion network expansion that will include high-speed fixed and 5G mobile networks in Mississippi and Alabama. Approximately half of the investment will go to all-fiber gigabit networks in Alabama; the rest will go toward fiber gigabit and 5G networks in Mississippi, a C Spire spokesman told Telecompetitor.

The investment is the largest C Spire has ever made, said C Spire CEO Hu Meena on a virtual press conference with reporters today. The fiber investment is expected to involve thousands of miles of fiber and to make service available to over 200,000 homes and businesses by 2025 in the two states.

The $1 billion is expected to be invested over a three-year period, to be followed by an additional $500 million.

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A press release notes specifically that the project will bring fiber to within 1,000 feet of half of Mississippi’s residences and bring 5G to nearly 600 sites, covering over 60% of the state. In Alabama, fiber broadband will be made available in more than two dozen markets.

C Spire already has invested considerably in fiber and mobile networks in its home state of Mississippi, and over the last year has broadened its focus to include the neighboring state of Alabama.

C Spire Expansion

C Spire expects to create 250 jobs within the company as a result of the new investment, almost all of which will be in Alabama, noted Ben Moncrief, C Spire senior vice president of strategic relations and managing director for Alabama, on the livestream.

“Alabama has been playing catch up in the fiber networking space,” noted Meena on the livestream.

Also on hand for the livestream was Alabama governor Kay Ivey, who noted that the state made $18.45 million available for broadband in 2020. A report from National Governors Association and Western Governors University pointed to Alabama as one of the states that was providing the most funding for broadband.

The C Spire spokesman told us, however, that C Spire is not using any government funding for the projects announced today.

C Spire already has begun its 5G deployment. Although the company has not provided a lot of detail about its 5G service, it has noted that it has spectrum in Band 41, which is the same 2.5 GHz band that T-Mobile is using for its 5G deployments. That spectrum should prove to be a valuable asset for C Spire as many see it providing the optimum mixture of speed and coverage.

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