HATTIESBURG, Miss., Dec. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Hattiesburg, long known as Hub City, may soon become a key player in the next phase of C Spire's Tech Movement initiative designed to transform Mississippi by making affordable, ultra-fast 1 Gbps broadband Internet access widely available to consumers and businesses across the state.
C Spire executives have invited more than 2,400 local business owners to a meeting on Friday, Dec. 8 at the Lake Terrace Convention Center to learn more about the opportunity to get Gigabit speed internet access for their businesses for as low as $200 a month, the lowest price available in the nation.
The luncheon session is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the convention center, which is located at 1 Convention Center Plaza in north Hattiesburg. Registration closes on Monday, Dec. 4. To secure a seat at the meeting, business owners need to register online at http://events.cspire.com/fiberfasthattiesburg.
"Fast, affordable and reliable broadband is a vital asset to our local businesses, to economic development and our community as a whole," said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. "With faster access, we have an opportunity to enhance Hattiesburg's technological infrastructure offerings, which will help us continue our trajectory as one of the most dynamic and innovative cities in the Gulf South."
Local business leaders said the C Spire initiative can help the Hub City build a robust broadband infrastructure that will "futureproof" efforts to boost business growth and expansion. "Ultra-fast broadband is an engine that will aid in driving our local economy into the future," said Chad Newell, president of the Area Development Partnership.
Hattiesburg is one of at least two dozen cities chosen by C Spire to begin the first U.S. effort aimed at making Gigabit internet widely available to businesses ranging from coffee houses and restaurants to law offices, accounting and tax services. The company aims to make ultra-fast service available to one out of every five of the state's 250,000 businesses.
Gigabit access for businesses is the second phase of a major private sector technology deployment by C Spire this fall that features a massive expansion of ultra-fast broadband internet and wireless fiber-based fixed internet to more than 270,000 consumers and small businesses in cities and towns across the state.
The broadband expansion is a key part of the C Spire Tech Movement, an outgrowth of the company's 2013 groundbreaking Fiber-to-the-Home program, one of the first of its type in the U.S. and the fastest to connect thousands of Mississippi consumers in nine communities across the state to Gigabit internet, digital television and home phone services.
"We're excited about partnering with the city of Hattiesburg to make the benefits of ultra-fast, fiber-based Internet available to their local businesses," said Allen McIntosh, vice president and general manager for C Spire Business Solutions, noting that businesses who received an invitation to the meeting have been pre-qualified for the Gigabit service.
McIntosh said the city has five business fiberhoods – designated areas that are within several hundred feet of the company's extensive existing infrastructure of buried fiber optic cable. Even the remaining businesses that are outside of the primary sphere of influence can receive the service if there is enough interest, he added.
"With this model, we can make these cutting-edge 21st century services available anywhere as long as there is enough interest to justify our capital investment," McIntosh added, noting that C Spire has installed over 8,000 route miles of fiber optics and owns and has deployed more wireless spectrum in Mississippi than any other communications carrier.
McIntosh said the goal of the meeting is to gauge interest among businesses and discuss next steps for the project. Similar meetings have been held in Tupelo, Laurel and Wiggins with others planned soon in more towns. "Our goal is to meet with local leaders and develop a plan that will make these services available to as many businesses as quickly as possible," he said.
The high-tech firm has been on a mission to expand broadband availability and boost average mobile and fixed broadband speeds in Mississippi. Overall, C Spire plans to deliver broadband Internet to over 270,000 residents and businesses with speeds ranging from 25 Mbps in underserved areas, 100 Mbps in other communities to 1 Gbps for businesses using the latest fiber optic and fixed wireless technologies, which enable faster and more widespread availability of critical services. The company also is continuing its FTTH Gigabit deployment in several communities across the state.
The broadband expansion plan is part of a broader C Spire Tech Movement initiative designed to leverage the company's technology leadership and investments to help transform its service areas. Other elements of the program include leading the development of a tech workforce in Mississippi through education initiatives, expanding tech innovation and development of a state-of-the-art digital customer care platform for customers and team members.
In recent years, C Spire's continuing technology investment has played a central role in recent state gains for average mobile and fixed broadband speeds in Mississippi. The company became the state's fastest Internet service provider in 2014 and more than quadrupled speeds in the state following its successful FTTH initiative.
C Spire plans to share more details as it rolls out each phase of the Tech Movement, including specific markets, pricing and speeds in the programs. In the meantime, consumers and businesses can go to cspire.com/internetlaunch for more details, updates and frequently asked questions.
About C Spire C Spire is a leading technology company committed to transforming Mississippi through the C Spire Tech Movement, which includes the massive deployment of broadband internet to homes and small businesses, a state-of-the-art digital experience for its customers and team members, technology innovation leadership and the creation and retention of a 21st century technology workforce in its region. The company provides world-class, customer-inspired wireless communications, 1 Gigabit consumer Internet access as well as a full suite of dedicated Internet, wireless, IP Voice, data and cloud services for businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.