Entergy and C Spire are teaming up on an $11 million fiber infrastructure project spanning over 300 miles in 15 Mississippi counties, including Attala and Leake, that will open the door for future delivery of a wide variety of next-generation broadband services to consumers and businesses in some of the most isolated and rural parts of the state.
The project, announced Wednesday, is the brainchild of Brandon Presley, chairman of the state’s Public Service Commission, and has been on the drawing board for over two years.
The massive infrastructure project, one of the largest in the nation, received a final “green light” when the PSC approved an order Tuesday, Feb. 6 authorizing the work to begin later this spring.
C Spire will install fiber optic cable and related broadband communications infrastructure for Entergy along five routes that cover 302 miles in 15 counties and pass 21 small towns, cities and communities in rural, hard-to-reach parts of the state.
“This is a win-win-win for Entergy, C Spire and the people of rural Mississippi,” Presley said. “Entergy gets communication enhancements to its statewide electrical service grid, C Spire gets highly-desired fiber infrastructure and the people of our great state who live in some of the most isolated areas will get access to 21st century broadband services. This is and will continue to be one of my top priorities.”
The construction project will involve placing fiber optic cable along five separate routes as follows:
- Delta: a 92-mile route through Sunflower, Humphreys, Madison and Hinds counties and near the cities of Indianola, Inverness, Isola, Belzoni, Silver City, Yazoo City, Bentonia, Flora and Jackson.
- North: a 51-mile stretch in Attala, Leake and Madison counties, including near the towns of McAdams, Kosciusko and Canton.
- Central: a 33-mile route through Madison, Rankin and Scott counties and near the towns of Canton, Sand Hill and Morton.
- South: a 77-mile route passing through Simpson, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence and Walthall counties and near the towns of Magee, Prentiss, Silver Creek, Monticello and Tylertown.
- Southwest: a 49-mile stretch in Franklin and Adams counties that’s near the communities of Bude, Meadville, Roxie, Natchez and Eddiceton.
Executives for Entergy and C Spire echoed Presley’s praise for the project and predicted that the infrastructure would help make the state more attractive for technology investment, boost economic development and business expansion in communities across the state and add more lucrative, high-paying job opportunities for residents.
“A robust broadband infrastructure is critical to the success of our efforts to move Mississippi forward by growing the economy, fostering innovation, creating job opportunities and improving the quality of life for all our residents,” said Hu Meena, CEO of C Spire, a Mississippi-based diversified telecommunications and technology services company.
Meena said broadband expansion is a key part of the C Spire Tech Movement initiative, an outgrowth of the firm’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 consumers in nine Mississippi communities to Gigabit speed internet, digital streaming TV and home phone services.