C Spire plans to install over 33 miles of underground fiber infrastructure in unserved parts of Hinds, Madison, Amite and Pike counties and will offer ultra-fast broadband internet access to consumers and businesses in those rural areas by the end of the year.
The company was one of 19 recipients of a total of $75 million in federal grant funds under the Mississippi Broadband COVID-19 program designed to help residents and businesses in unserved or underserved areas of the state get fast, reliable internet access in 2020. Each recipient is required to match 50 percent of the overall cost of their individual project.
“Our current public health crisis has shown that Mississippians are in critical need of fast, reliable, symmetric broadband internet service,” said C Spire CEO Hu Meena. “This program will help get more broadband in more places more quickly by relying on public-private partnerships to expand the availability of high-quality, symmetric internet access.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in mid-March, the lives of many Mississippians have been dramatically altered, including working remotely from home, students transitioning to distance learning education models, businesses using e-commerce and online ordering, and medical professionals exploring creative solutions to serve patients via telehealth.
In response, C Spire will install underground fiber infrastructure for dozens of residents in rural Hinds County along Highway 18 southwest of Raymond and northwest of Utica along Highway 27. In north central Madison County, the company plans to deploy fiber to serve businesses in Canton west of Interstate 55 along Virlilia Road.
In southwest Mississippi, the company will place fiber for dozens of rural residents and businesses in an area southwest of the town of Liberty in Amite County along Highway 48. In Pike County, C Spire will provide fiber access for residents north of Osyka along Highway 51 and west of the town along Highway 584 and Old Mill Road.
After installing the underground fiber broadband infrastructure, the company plans to start offering a suite of next-generation services, including Gigabit speed internet access for residents and businesses, by the end of December.