Oxford competing for faster internet

Posted on Oct 10 2013 - 7:57am by Katelyn Miller

Oxford is officially in the race to be C Spire’s first city to host the company’s new high-speed Internet initiative, C Spire Fiber to the Home.

On Sept. 24, C Spire officials announced the new initiative to give homes in Mississippi the chance for Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, which is about 100 times faster than the average Internet speed currently available through most providers.

C Spire hopes to have the first city connected sometime next year. But communities are competing to determine which will be the first.

The program, called Get Fiber First, invites city officials from around the state to tell C Spire why their city is the best option to be the first to receive the new service and how their city will benefit from the future operations and the faster connection.

C Spire said it will accept applications from neighborhoods, towns and cities. All applications must be submitted by the Oct. 20 deadline.

“We’re going to pull out all the stops for this,” Mayor Pat Patterson said during the Board of Aldermen meeting on Oct. 1.

Alderman Robyn Tannehill is heading up Oxford’s effort, and she launched a social media campaign this past week with a new Oxford Fiber First Facebook Page under the slogan, “You Bring the Gigs and We’ll Byte!”

“As a board, you have a lot of different opinions on how to get where we’re going, but one thing we all strongly believe is that we have to plan for the future,” Tannehill said last Tuesday. “This is a very important step in securing the digital infrastructure we need to take Oxford into the future.”

Tannehill said city leaders are working to complete the Request for Information to send to C Spire and is asking for the community’s support for the project.

“C Spire said the enthusiasm from the community will help in their decision,” she said. “The social media campaign will be aimed at letting everyone know all the ways they can contact C Spire to let them know they’re interested in Oxford being the first.”

C Spire officials say they have about 4,000 miles of fiber optic cable throughout the state and plan to put down about 1,600 more.

The service is already in place in other areas, including Kansas City, Kan., Chattanooga, Tenn. and Lafayette, La.

Several cities in Mississippi have already announced that they too are vying to be the first in Mississippi, including Corinth, Clinton and Southaven.

Recently, officials from Oxford, The University of Mississippi, the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Foundation met with C Spire executives in Jackson when they issued the challenge to communities.

C Spire President and CEO Hu Meena said the community’s interest is a big part of the evaluation process.

“The community that wants it the most will get it first,” he said at a recent press conference. “It’s that simple.”

Tannehill is asking the community to visit and “Like” the new Facebook page and to post messages showing support. Community members can also tweet their support to @cspire using #OxfordFiberFirst.

For more information, visit www.oxfordms.net.