C Spire is planning a major expansion of broadband services in Alabama to bring high-speed Internet to large areas of metropolitan Birmingham, Shelby County and other parts of the state.
The privately-held company has provided wireless, broadband and managed business and data services in Mississippi and other states for more than 30 years and plans to deploy its all-fiber Gigabit 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. "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."
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.
"This is a great investment in the future of Birmingham and our metro area," said Mayor Randall Woodfin. "In Birmingham, we are committed to creating an inclusive economy that provides the best opportunities in education, workforce development and entrepreneurship for everyone. 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."
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 healthcare.
C Spire will contract for a portion of Alabama Power's fiber infrastructure to help support its offering in several communities in the metro Birmingham area and other parts of Alabama. Alabama Power is not providing broadband services directly to customers.
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. 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."