C Spire was joined by Alabama state and local officials and Alabama Power today to announce a major expansion of broadband services that will bring high-speed Internet to large parts of metropolitan Birmingham, Shelby County and other parts of Alabama.
The announcement by the Mississippi-based diversified telecommunications and technology services company comes on the heels of a similar one last month by C Spire that it plans to make the city of Jasper in northwest Alabama one of its first broadband markets in 2020.
C Spire has rolled out ultra-fast Gigabit internet access and related services to thousands of consumers, businesses and local and state government operations, boosting overall broadband connection speeds in the state by 200 percent since 2014. The suite of services is competitively priced and is paving the way for a boom in smart home applications, innovation, business expansion and economic growth.
The privately held company has provided wireless, broadband and managed business and data services in Mississippi, other states and across the country for over 30 years and plans to deploy its ultra-fast, all-fiber Gigabit speed broadband internet access and related services to homes and businesses in Alabama beginning in 2020.
“Today is a big day in the life of our company,” said C Spire CEO Hu Meena. “While we’ve had a presence in southern Alabama (Mobile) for decades and our Alabama headquarters are here in the Birmingham area, we plan to make our all-fiber broadband services available to homes and businesses across the state next year.”
Meena said many rural areas in Alabama have inadequate internet access to grow and prosper in the new 21st century economy – something that C Spire aims to change with its Gigabit speed broadband internet initiative that will rely on future-proof all- fiber optic infrastructure. “In Mississippi, we have deployed thousands of miles of fiber optics and we are excited to bring the same investment and customer-inspired services to the people of Alabama.”
The company, which operates the nation’s largest privately owned wireless communications operation, will work quickly to identify Alabama towns and communities that are enthusiastic about the prospect of gaining more broadband infrastructure and transforming their areas into hubs for the rapidly evolving digital economy.
One of those areas is Birmingham, the state’s largest city and one of its fastest growing metropolitan regions.
“This is a great investment in the future of Birmingham and our metro area,” said Mayor Randall Woodfin, noting that C Spire plans feature a suite of ultra-fast broadband internet-based services to consumers and businesses.
“In Birmingham, we are committed to creating an inclusive economy that provides the best opportunities in education, workforce development and entrepreneurship for everyone,” Woodfin said, adding that technology investment and broadband infrastructure by C Spire is critical to the city’s economic future. “We’re proud to have C Spire as a member of the Birmingham community with its track record of success in neighboring Mississippi and its commitment to digital access and investments in local communities.”
Meena said C Spire will use a crowd-sourcing model in Alabama to help gauge community interest and guide decisions on capital investment and broadband deployment.
“The communities that want this game-changing infrastructure and services the most will get it first,” he said.
Although there are already several internet service providers in Birmingham, Meena said C Spire will have an advantage because of its laser focus on local customer service and support, value and its adherence to no data caps or surprise monthly charges.
Last month, the Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition formally welcomed C Spire into its coalition, which is comprised of 30 organizations across the state focused on rural broadband expansion, ranging from agriculture and business to economic development, education and health care.
State Sen. Greg Reed of Jasper, the Senate majority leader who championed legislation last session to pave the way for broadband expansion in Alabama, welcomed C Spire to Alabama and lauded the company for its continued investment in the state and its support for the coalition’s objectives.
“I’m proud of the role we played in creating this opportunity for Alabama communities,” Reed said. “But I am even prouder of the partnerships that we have forged with C Spire, Alabama Power and others and the investment they are making in our state. That investment will pay dividends for consumers and businesses.”
“As I’ve said before, no matter where they live, every single student, family, worker and business owner in Alabama should have access to fast, reliable internet that allows them to thrive in the 21st century economy,” Reed added. “It’s through partnerships like this one that we are working to make that a reality.”
Tony Smoke, Birmingham Division vice president for Alabama Power, said the partnership will help make communities stronger.
“We are thrilled to welcome C Spire to Birmingham and other parts of our state,” Smoke said.
Smoke said Alabama Power’s fiber infrastructure helps increase the reliability and resiliency of its electric grid and provides economic growth opportunities.
“Our fiber strategy allows us to be innovative when it comes to current and future grid technologies, which benefits customers and the communities we serve,” he added.
C Spire will contract for a portion of Alabama Power’s fiber infrastructure to help support its offering of high-speed Internet in several communities in the metro Birmingham area and other parts of Alabama. Alabama Power is not providing broadband services directly to customers.