Gigabit Cities

Gigabites: A Gigabit Battle in Tennessee

Not everything was about IBC this week. Well, mostly it was. But here were a few notable happenings in the gigabit world. In this week's edition of Gigabites, two providers compete to deliver gigabit service in Tennessee, Google eyes three new cities for gigabit expansion and more.

  • Tennessee may not be the first state that comes to mind for high-speed broadband infrastructure, but two service providers are now duking it out to deliver gigabit Internet in the city of Starkville, TN. This week, MaxxSouth announced it will offer gigabit access by the end of next month to 8,000 homes in the region. The cable company formerly known as MetroCast was acquired last year by Block Communications Inc. , and it appears to be working to repair a relationship with the city of Starkville after losing its contract to provide Internet services to the local government last year.

  • C Spire is the company that took over with the city for the old MetroCast after announcing plans to bring gigabit service to the area back in 2013. Since then, C Spire has deployed gigabit broadband to four qualified "fiberhoods," with several other neighborhoods still working to qualify for service. The competition means Starkville has become one of the very few cities in the nation to have two gigabit providers competing for customers.

  • On a much larger scale, Google Fiber Inc. continues to make headlines in the gigabit universe. The Internet giant announced this week that it's exploring the possibility of expanding gigabit Internet to three more cities: Irvine, Calif., Louisville, Ky., and San Diego, Calif. Think of it as similar to a candidate forming an exploratory committee. Google hasn't committed to new deployments in these cities yet, but it says it will work with the local communities to study factors such as housing density and the condition of existing infrastructure. If it decides not to extend gigabit service to the cities, Google points out that the preparatory work will still be useful for any future fiber plans. (See also Gigabites: Google Fiber Forges On.)

  • Missouri got a gigabit boost this week. Mediacom Communications Corp. announced it will offer gigabit service to every home in several areas of the state it serves, including Jefferson City and Holts Summit -- which are first on the deployment schedule -- as well as the counties of Boone, Cole and Callaway. Customers will be able to order the high-speed service starting on September 15.

  • Infrastructure vendor Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX) is also on a gigabit roll. The company announced 10 new municipal customers this week that will use Calix equipment to deploy fiber-to-the-home networks. Among them, Owensboro Municipal Utilities (OMU) in Kentucky says it plans to start a pilot project deploying fiber to more than 500 homes, with the option for a gigabit broadband service. Other municipalities on the list include cities in Massachusetts, Tennessee, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin and North Carolina. In total, Calix says it has partnered with 40 community-owned networks in the US.

    — Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

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