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RIDGELAND — C Spire has announced an initiative to give homes in Mississippi the chance for internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second — about 100 times the average speed.

And Starkville officials immediately submitted a letter saying they planned to jump into the bid to be the first city to get the service. Mississippi State University and the city’s ongoing effort to install a fiber optic backbone make it a logical choice, city officials say.

CEO Hu Meena made the announcement Tuesday at a news conference at the C Spire headquarters in Ridgeland.

“We know that unlocking the potential of next generation technology for the communities we serve requires taking optical fiber all the way to their door,” said Meena.

“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.”

The service will be marketed as C Spire Fiber to the Home.

C Spire hopes to have the first city connected by sometime in 2014.

Jared Baumann, Brand Product Manager at C Spire, said the company has about 4,000 miles of fiber optic cable throughout the state and plans to put down about 1,600 more miles.

C Spire is already offering high-speed, high-bandwidth connections to schools and businesses.

Other cities already have fiber optic internet, such as Kansas City, Kan., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Lafayette, La. But this venture is targeting the entire state.

The first Mississippi city will be selected through a “Get Fiber First” program, which invites city officials from around the state to tell why their needs, wants and will benefit from the future operations and 1 Gig Fiber.

C Spire said it will be accepting applications from neighborhoods, towns and cities in Mississippi. The communities that want it the most, and move quickest, will get it first, they said.

More details on how that city will be selected will be announced later.

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