C Spire building fiber optic Internet service

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News,Business

RIDGELAND, Miss. (AP) — C Spire says it has started work laying fiber optic cable for high-speed fiber optic Internet service in Quitman and part of Ridgeland.

The company held a ceremony Thursday in Ridgeland's Bridgewater neighborhood to mark the start of construction, part of the company's plan to lay cable in four Mississippi cities, including all of Quitman. C Spire also plans work in Horn Lake and Starkville.

The company says the 1-gigabit-per-second network will be 100 times faster than what's currently available.

"The people of Bridgewater saw it and understood it. It offers a lot more than the traditional (Internet) services we know," John Stratton, a board member of the Bridgewater property owner's association, told The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/1fTWcvl).

The company continues to register customers in those four cities, as well as in Batesville, Clinton, Corinth, Hattiesburg and McComb. The Fiber To The Home effort launched last November and C Spire requires a certain percentage of residents in neighborhoods to sign up before the company commits to service.

Service is scheduled to begin this summer. C Spire CEO Hu Meena said the company wants to move Mississippi from worst to first in national rankings for average Internet speeds, and is working to launch it network quickly.

"We're going to do it within a year. I'm very proud of that," he said. "We're not just talking about it, we're getting it done."

Each city struck a 25-year franchise agreement with the wireless carrier, with two automatic 10-year rollovers.

Ridgeland-based C Spire also offers wireless telephone and data services.

The company is charging existing customers from $70 a month for the Internet service to $150 a month for Internet, home phone and digital television. Non-wireless customers must pay $10 a month more.

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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