Diamondhead, Waveland both want to become a Gigabit city

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Diamondhead and Waveland are in a battle to become Mississippi's first 'Gigabit' city with the first community-wide fiber optics city in the state.

What that means is the fiber technology will be run to, and made available to every home and business in the selected city. One of the biggest benefits is Internet connection at the speed of light.

Diamondhead resident Don Hope says his laptop is like a close friend. He depends on it for almost everything.

"I would be lost without it. I take it when I travel and use it for just about everything. We keep our finances on it, I play bridge on it, I watch movies on it," Hope said.

But downloading those movies is sometimes difficult.

"On the most busiest times of the week, which is normally Friday evenings from 7 til 9, it's slow. The movie has to stop and catch up."

City leaders say if Diamondhead becomes C Spire's first Gigabit city, download problems like that will become a thing of the past for residents like Hope.

"To have fiber run to the home, which means a faster Internet download and upload speed. From 50 to a thousand. In basic terms, that's what it is. So whatever you have now, it's going to be a hundred times faster," explained Diamondhead City Manager Richard Rose.

Rose believes Diamondhead is the perfect place for the fiber technology.

"Because we have a highly populated, high density, residential area. We have a community that is highly socially networked already through the 40+ odd organizations that is in a town of 8,500 people. So we think we've got a distinct advantage."

He said being selected would come with economic benefits for the city. Home sales would shoot up.

"Especially young couples that get married. The younger group that has grown up in this age of high tech want faster Internet speed. They do more gaming, they do more uploading and downloading of television shows, and they communicate much faster than we do basically."

The fiber service will include television and telephone options as well.

So far, there are at least six cities in the state vying for C Spire's designation. The city of Waveland is also in the running.

Both cities are looking for community support to push them over the top. Diamondhead is holding a rally to generate community support this Monday at 10am at City Hall.

For more information and how you can show your support for either Hancock County city, visit:

The deadline to apply for the contest is October 20th. C Spire is expected to announce the winning city before the end of the year.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.