C Spire says it has launched construction of a 243-mile fiber cable route from Meridian, MS, to Homewood, AL.
The project, expected to be completed in 2022, will cross six counties – Lauderdale in Mississippi and Sumter, Greene, Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, and portions of Bibb County in Alabama, along U.S. Highways 80 and 11.
The company says the multi-billion-dollar project, which involves the deployment of ducts, conduit, and fiber cable underground, will enable it to increase capacity and resiliency while lowering latency for residential and business broadband customers in its Tuscaloosa and Northport, AL, along with a 46-mile metropolitan fiber ring serving that area.
The project also support the expansion of distribution networks in west Alabama and in the Birmingham metropolitan market.
Mississippi-based C Spire has stepped up its activities in Alabama over the past two years.The efforts included the acquisition of Alabama-based Harbor Communications, a deal that closed this past June.
"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."
"Fiber will help us connect thousands of consumers, businesses, schools and government agencies to ultra-fast broadband services now and for decades into the future," added Ben Moncrief, managing director of Alabama and senior vice president of strategic relations for C Spire.
Local leaders welcomed the news.
"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 Economic Development Authority, by way of example. "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."