C Spire "Fiber to the Home" makes communities beg for Gigabit Internet

Internet services provider C Spire announced this week it will begin rolling out gigabit Internet service to homes in Ridgeland, Mississippi sometime in 2014. Billing the move as a step towards creating the "Silicon South", C Spire chose Ridgeland because government officials and civic leaders had stepped up to welcome the company in. That model – in which customers, not companies, are placed in a position to lobby for the contract – echoes Google's approach when it started announcing Google Fiber last year.

This seemingly backwards sales model brings super-fast Internet to the communities who want it most, and shows exactly where the wholesale interest is located, which helps keep down costs. C Spire has created a PDF form for communities across the United States to fill out if they want to get in on the action early. The company currently has about 4,000 miles of fiberoptic cable, and the first service areas will be chosen based on vocal demand as well as geographic proximity to the system.

The company's chief competitor for gigabit Internet is Google, whose own already activated proving ground is Kansas City. Google has immediate plans to extend service throughout that metro area, as well as to Austin, TX and Provo, UT. Smaller companies have also taken hold in communities like Minneapolis, MN where USI Wireless is rolling out super-fast Internet to 10,000 homes. The upshot of all this is that entire networks, including your run-of-the-mill 10Mbps connections, can benefit from the increased load capacity, not just gigabit customers.

Gigabit Internet is about 100 times faster than your typical 10Mb high-speed Internet connection. The most obvious technical benefit of this is faster video, theoretically allowing multiple video streams through one residential connection. The specific real-world applications the company lists include instant page loading, seamless gaming, and glitch-free conferencing, the last of which continues the world's unrelenting march towards total interconnectivity.