C Spire To Travel Google Fiber Path to 1-Gig

Comcast Among Likely Rivals For Coming Fiber-Fed Broadband Services in Mississippi

Telecommunications and wireless service provider C Spire has unleashed a plan to deploy fiber-fed 1 Gbps residential broadband services in Mississippi, and will use a page from the Google Fiber playbook to pull it off as it looks to establish the region as the “Silicon South.”

The company announced Tuesday that it will base its deployment plan on a “Get Fiber First” application campaign that will call on cities and towns in the state to proclaim why they deserve to get connected. “The communities that want it the most, and move quickest, will get it first,” the company said.

According to the C Spire request for information (RFI) document, potential launch communities will get a leg up if they offer advantageous permitting and construction access “or other incentives,” business terms from local government that reduce the cost of implementation and operation, and if they show “sizable local demand" during the coming pre-registration process.

Depending on the cities and towns selected for the coming C Spire Fiber to the Home service, the company appears most likely to compete for broadband customers with incumbents providers such as Comcast.

C Spire said it has the resources and equipment in place to deploy the service rapidly, noting that its existing fiber network, used to backhaul its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network and to deliver services to business customers,  already covers 4,000 miles, with another 1,500 miles slated for installation during the next year.

By using a demand-driven, Google Fiber-like deployment priority system, C Spire said its 1-Gig service will be available “to any community near an existing fiber route that opens its arms to welcome it, with fast-track permitting and homeowner pre-registration.”

C Spire did not outline the specific timing for 1-Gig network buildouts and installations, but did say it expects to share more details about those plans on Monday, Sept. 30 at a “Get Fiber First” town hall meeting at its corporate offices in Ridgeland, Miss. C Spire will also open pre-registration on that date.

According to the RFI, C Spire expects to identify initial launch locations by this fall or by early 2014, and has not set a pre-determined number of homes it will reach with the service.

The company said it will offer 1 Gig speeds at a “competitive price,” and intends to bundle in other services, including wireless, digital TV and digital home phone. C Spire service pricing could emerge when official pre-registration starts early next week.

If it follows Google Fiber’s lead on pricing, expect 1-Gig services to sell for about $70 per month, or $120 per month when bundled with subscription TV services.