City could compete for prize: ultra high-speed internet service 10/4/2013

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 4, 2013

City could compete for prize: ultra high-speed internet service

By John Howell Sr.

A proposal that would provide ultra-fast Internet for Batesville homes and businesses captured the interest of Batesville city officials during Tuesday’s meeting when Alderman Eddie Nabors proposed that the city respond to a C Spire Fiber-to-the-Home request for information (RFI) that could result the city’s selection for rapid build-out of the system.

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C Spire has challenged a number of Mississippi municipalities, including Batesville, to provide incentives that would warrant its selection as the “model city” for construction of the fiber optic digital infrastructure capable of one Gbps speeds, about 100 times faster than today’s broadband, Nabors said.

Presently 1 Gbps service has been launched the Kansas City, MO by Google and by AT&T in Austin, TX, but C Spire wants to launch the service in a small municipality, Nabors told the mayor and fellow aldermen. Nabors had attended C Spire’s meeting announcing the competition for Mississippi cities.

“As a brand that’s been pushing the envelope of innovation our entire existence, it’s only natural for us to want to provide the ‘what’s next’ to the customers we serve,” C Spire CEO Hu Meena told BusinessWire at the Sept. 24 announcement.

The assistance from city government that would increase Batesville’s chances for selection would include streamlining the permitting process for construction of the system and eliminating or reducing franchise fee requirements, Nabors said. C Spire seeks “progressive, business-minded leadership that can move quickly to aid us in deployment with fast construction permitting, advantageous access to public rights-of-way, or other incentives,” its ROI states.

Also leveraging C Spire’s selection decision will be “sizable local demand shown in a pre-registration process.” Consumers can register interest at

Access to the ultra high speed fiber optic Internet “will nurture an environment for tech start-ups and home-based small businesses that provide today’s innovation and tomorrow’s jobs,” the C Spire announcement states. It will also provide improvements in education, civic life and municipal services.

“I think our demographic mix is good here; I think we’d be a good example kind of a community,” Nabors said during Tuesday’s discussion among city officials.

“How could we go wrong by doing it (responding to the RFI)?” asked Alderman Stan Harrison.
“You can’t go wrong by putting it in; we need to put it in,” Nabors said.

“I don’t see how we can compete with a town like Tupelo,” Mayor Jerry Autrey said.
“We beat them on the football field all the time,” Nabors responded.

“We’ve got to ask ourselves whether as a legislative body we can give some of the concessions they’re asking for,” Nabors continued.

“There’s a lot more 7,500 to 10,000 (population) towns than there are Tupelos,” the mayor said.
“I tell you, everybody was there from Gulfport to Corinth; a room full of folks trying to get in on this,” Nabors said, referring to the C Spire meeting he attended.

“You’d think they would want to start with a smaller town where there’s not so much for them to do,” Harrison said.
“You could sell it (Batesville’s response) like that,” Nabors said.