March 26, 2014 10:23:35 AM
A battle for next-generation Internet subscribers is brewing in Starkville, as MetroCast Communications announced Monday it will deploy its own fiber-optic, residential service to Starkville at a later date.
The company announced it deployed its own Fiber to the Home initiative, a service that promises a connection speed up to 50 megabytes per second, in Carthage, which will also provide new television channels and digital phone capabilities.
MetroCast is targeting similar launches in Starkville and Oxford, according to a release, but the company did not say when the service would be available. Price points for services were also unavailable in the release.
The move puts MetroCast toe to toe with C Spire for high-speed Internet customers. Starkville is one of eight Mississippi cities mustering pre-registration efforts for its own Fiber to the Home program, a service that will bring 1 gigabyte-per-second Internet connections to residential subscribers. C Spire's own program will also offer television and phone services.
C Spire divided Starkville into 10 "fiberhoods" and set pre-registration marks -- usually 35 percent to 45 percent of the neighborhood's population -- as thresholds for engineering and construction efforts. Two Starkville "fiberhoods" -- South Montgomery and Timbercove/College Station/Polos -- are qualified for the next phase, while the Cotton District/Downtown/Historic Central Starkville area was 12 percent shy of its pre-registration mark.
Cities were divided into "fiberhoods" based upon geography and population density. For example, the entire town of Quitman, with its 2010 census population, qualified as a single "fiberhood" and hit its pre-registration mark early.
"Unlike other Mississippi (Fiber to the Home) projects announced for deployment later this year, MetroCast has wired its entire footprint in the city of Carthage," said Lisa Shoemaker, executive director of the Mississippi Cable Telecommunications Association, in a release. "This is a major accomplishment for customers here in Carthage."
MetroCast is listed as a MCTA member, but C Spire is not, according to the group's website.
As with C Spire's pledge, officials in the release lauded MetroCast's own initiative as a significant boon for economic development, revitalization and educational initiatives.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch