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C Spire, a privately-owned telecommunications and technology company with offices in Alabama, announced plans to invest $1 billion over the next three years to accelerate the deployment of all-fiber Gigabit broadband internet in Alabama and Mississippi.
When completed, the project is expected to expand next-generation, ultra-fast broadband services across the two states. In Alabama, C Spire has plans to deliver all-fiber gigabit service in over two dozen Alabama markets.
Defeating the Digital Divide
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey passionately described the need for expanded broadband internet access in Alabama during a morning news conference that included representatives from C Spire and Business Council of Alabama.
“In the early months of the pandemic a large portion of our state’s workforce had to transition working remotely from home,” said Gov. Ivey. “As our students began the 2020 school year many school districts relied on virtual or blended approaches to educating our children. Alabamians rely more and more on tele-medicine to ensure medical needs are met. The common denominator is the need for reliable high speed internet access.”
According to the Governor, less than 1/3 of Alabamians enjoy broadband access, placing Alabama behind all of our neighboring states.
“The pandemic underscored something we’ve all known for quite some time, broadband should be available to every Alabamian regardless where their home is located or level of income. Your (C Spire) 1 billion dollar investment will be the first statewide initiative aimed at defeating this digital divide.”
Joining Governor Ivey in welcoming the C Spire’s multi-year commitment was Katie Boyd Britt with the Business Council of Alabama.
“When it comes to attracting business and industry into Alabama, we at the BCA have seen that broadband internet can “make or break” in determining, whether or not a company comes here or expands here in Alabama.”
C Spire has already launched Gigabit broadband for consumers in Jasper and will offer service in Trussville next month. They also plan to expand fiber in more than two dozen markets across Alabama as part of its Fiber Fast initiative.
“We have a strong reputation of providing world-class products and services to consumers and businesses and this investment signals that we intend to deliver these benefits faster than ever before,” said C Spire CEO Hu Meena, noting that the firm will make the initial investment in three years with another $500 million in capital spending over a five-year period.”
Meena expects the initiative to generate at least 250 new direct jobs in Alabama and result in millions of dollars in secondary economic benefits for both states through contracts and agreements with firms who will help C Spire with the massive infrastructure deployment and construction efforts.
“This is a game-changer, to grow the economy and improve the quality of life for everyone,” he concluded.