C Spire has begun construction of a 243-mile fiber build from Meridian, MS to Homewood, AL. The work, which began in July, is expected to be completed next year.
The project includes placement of conduit, ducting and fiber. It will cross Lauderdale County in Mississippi and Sumter, Greene, Tuscaloosa, Jefferson and portions of Bibb counties in Alabama. The route will follow U.S. Highways 80 and 11.
The regional carrier says the route will help open consumer and business opportunities in its Tuscaloosa and Northport, AL markets. The project also will complement C Spire assets in western Alabama and the Birmingham metropolitan market.
“High-speed, all-fiber broadband internet service is a game-changer,” Alan Jones, the senior vice president of Engineering and Development for C Spire, said in a press release about the C Spire fiber build. “Our ability to provide symmetric speeds immediately solves real-world challenges associated with interactive learning, remote work and telehealth applications. That’s good news for all Alabamians.”
C Spire announced a three-year $1 billion investment program earlier this year. At the time, a company spokesperson told Telecompetitor that about half of the funding will go to build all-gigabit networks in Alabama and about half will go toward gigabit fiber and 5G networks in Mississippi.
That investment is starting to be felt. In June, the company turned up 33 5G cell sites in the central Mississippi communities of Brandon, Canton, Florence, Madison, Pearl, Pelahatchie, Richland and Ridgeland. That follows a February announcement that the company had turned up 54 sites in Harrison and Jackson counties, which are on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.
In May, C Spire began construction on 22 “fiberhoods” that eventually will offer service to 179,000 people who live in the unincorporated area of Mobile County, AL.