C SpireC Spire announced an expansion of fiber-based gigabit broadband service to several more areas in Alabama, including Birmingham, Shelby County and other areas. Construction is expected to begin next year.

C Spire says it is the largest privately owned wireless communications operator in the United States. But the company has a wireline division providing fiber-based broadband and data center services. C Spire has focused primarily on smaller markets with those services, where the company has little or no competition for high-speed broadband. Nevertheless, the company said it expects success in the more competitive Birmingham market.

C Spire is working to identify communities that will get services first using an approach to the fiberhood strategy that Google Fiber used a decade or so ago when it first deployed gigabit service. C Spire leverages the CrowdFiber platform for this approach.

“The communities that want this game-changing infrastructure and services the most will get it first,” C Spire CEO Hu Meena said in a press release.

C Spire said that it already serves consumers, businesses and local and state government operations in the state and has boosted connection speeds by 200% since 2014.

C Spire has been active in recent months:

  • Last month, C Spire said that it is almost done with an upgrade of 252 cell sites in 41 counties in Mississippi. The upgrade features new spectrum aimed at improving capacity and speed to customers.
  • At the end of October, the company said that it will provide FTTH services to Saltillo, Gulfport and Biloxi, MS. The expansion will cover about 78,000 households.
  • Earlier in the month, the company and the Center for Telehealth at the University of Mississippi Medical Center said they are collaborating on a telehealth app that would provide an alternative to doctor or hospital visits.
  • In September, C Spire said that preparations for 5G are paying immediate dividends: A 15% to 20% increase in mobile broadband speeds. The reason is that the company spent 2019 upgrading more than 1,200 cell sites

Joan Engebretson contributed to this report.

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