C Spire has started construction on a 243-mile-long fiber-optic cable route from Meridian, Mississippi, to Homewood.
Contractors for the broadband and business services division of the diversified telecommunications and technology services company began work on the multimillion-dollar project late last month and it is expected to be completed next year.
The project, which involves placing conduit, ducting and fiber-optic cable underground, will span six counties – Lauderdale in Mississippi – and Sumter, Greene, Tuscaloosa, Jefferson and portions of Bibb in Alabama, along U.S. Highways 80 and 11.
Company officials said the route will help C Spire provide greater capacity, increased resiliency and lower latency fiber-based ultrafast, broadband internet services to consumers and businesses in its Tuscaloosa and Northport markets along with a 46-mile metropolitan fiber ring serving that area.
“High-speed, all-fiber broadband internet service is a game changer,” said Alan Jones, senior vice president of Engineering and Development for C Spire. “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.”
The project will help the company build its infrastructure base as it expands fiber distribution networks in west Alabama and the Birmingham metropolitan market.
“Fiber will help us connect thousands of consumers, businesses, schools and government agencies to ultrafast broadband services now and for decades into the future,” said Ben Moncrief, senior vice president of Strategic Relations and managing director in Alabama for C Spire.
C Spire is expanding its ultrafast broadband internet services to consumers and businesses in Alabama as part of an overall $1 billion investment announced earlier this year to speed the development and deployment of fiber broadband and network enhancements across its three-state footprint.
Alabama ranks 38th nationally in broadband access. State leaders have made access to fast, reliable and affordable internet for rural areas a priority through state funding and creation of the Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition, a group of community, business and government leaders dedicated to job creation, economic development and business growth.
Business leaders lauded C Spire’s continued fiber expansion in Alabama.
“Expanding fiber-based broadband is essential to bridging the digital divide for residents and accelerating economic development opportunities in west Alabama,” said Danielle Winningham, executive director of the Tuscaloosa County Economic Development Authority. “C Spire’s commitment to install this vital infrastructure will create jobs and positively impact fiber-based broadband services for residents and businesses in our region.”
“Expanding broadband services, especially in rural areas like Sumter and Greene counties, is extremely important, and it’s gratifying to see the private investment from C Spire that will transform this goal into reality,” said Blake Hardwich, executive director of the Energy Institute of Alabama.