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C Spire Fiber to the Home Initiative Wins Prestigious Cornerstone Award from Broadband Communities for its Creative Public-Private Partnership with Cities

Company honored for historic collaboration with nine Mississippi cities on nation’s first and only statewide 1 Gbps ultra-fast consumer broadband initiative offering 100 times faster Internet

Austin, Texas (April 9, 2014) – C Spire’s ultra-high speed 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) fiber to the home initiative in Mississippi has been selected by Broadband Communities for a 2014 Cornerstone Award.

C Spire executives were honored Wednesday during a special awards program attended by over 1,000 broadband industry leaders at the 2014 Broadband Communities Summit in Austin, Texas.

Presented annually since 2004, the Cornerstone Awards recognize outstanding accomplishments by private developments, municipalities, communities, companies, and individuals in delivering broadband over fiber for the benefit of the end user. The awards have included recognition for the most notable deployments of Fiber-to-the-Home and next-generation access technologies in the U.S. and abroad.

“Fiber to the Home is a transformative technology, serving as a platform for innovation and new Internet experiences that have yet to be imagined,” said Hu Meena, president and CEO of C Spire. “We thank Broadband Communities for this recognition and look forward to showing the world that Mississippi is ready to become a hub for technology investment, economic growth and job creation.”

In their comments, a panel of industry leaders who served as Cornerstone judges praised C Spire for its “creative engagement” with Mississippi cities, towns and communities in pursuing the next-generation broadband technology initiative. “C Spire is sharing the valuable message that fiber to the home has the power to raise property values and transform communities into hubs for technology investment and economic growth,” said Scott DeGarmo, president and CEO of Broadband Communities.

DeGarmo said C Spire’s news conferences and town hall meetings last year to kick off the initiative created excitement and inspired local government, community and business leaders to rally their towns to participate and partner with the company. “We’re hopeful that this dynamic initiative in Mississippi will energize citizens, communities and organizations across the country to pursue similar efforts.”

Nine Mississippi cities, including Batesville, Clinton, Corinth, Hattiesburg, Horn Lake, McComb, Quitman, Ridgeland and Starkville, were selected by C Spire last November for the nation’s first and only statewide roll out of the game-changing technology, which promises Internet access up to 100 times faster than national average broadband speeds.

Homeowner pre-registration began last December. Since that time, local government, community and business leaders have rallied residents in four of the cities to pre-register at levels that qualify their areas to be among the first for C Spire’s build out of the service. Efforts are underway in the remaining cities as well and they continue to make steady progress.

Meena said the strong support and engagement from cities is the primary reason for the initiative’s success and for the recognition from the Broadband Communities organization. “This initiative is a great example of what can be accomplished when cities, communities and business leaders work together to move Mississippi forward,” he said.

“It’s very exciting for our city,” said Horn Lake Mayor Alan Latimer. “This technology will put us at the front of the line for higher-paying jobs, more technology investment and a better quality of life.” Horn Lake and other parts of DeSoto County are among the state’s fastest growing areas.

Quitman Mayor Eddie Fulton, who recruited an army of community, education and neighborhood volunteers to help his Clarke County town qualify for the service, said C Spire’s initiative is the most important development for his city in the last half century. “It’s a God send … we’re ecstatic to say the least. Having fiber optics in our city is a tremendous gateway to the future and will open the door to opportunities we could only dream about before.”

Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman, who traveled around the country studying how a handful of other U.S. cities managed to gain similar technology infrastructure, said the initiative represents “a historic moment” for Mississippi. “It’s really incredible to know that this will be the first multi-city deployment of Gigabit service in the U.S. It’s not every day that you get to be a part of something that is truly groundbreaking and game-changing.”

Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee, whose city already has a reputation as one of the nation’s most family and business friendly communities, said municipal leaders have been focused on educating and informing residents about the benefits associated with fiber to the home since first learning about the initiative last year.

McGee has gone door to door canvassing residents, sent pre-recorded telephone messages to homeowners and led a 27-mile bike ride through 12 of the city’s neighborhoods to raise awareness about the need to pre-register for C Spire’s Fiber to the Home service.

“It’s exciting to make this opportunity available to our residents,” McGee said. “This is technology infrastructure that will enhance education and small business creation, attract high-tech business investment, jobs and new families while boosting home values and improving the quality of life in our city.”

Pre-registration remains open in all nine C Spire fiber cities. Residents are required to make a $10 refundable deposit and indicate their interest for specific services.

For C Spire customers, the 1 Gbps Internet access will be available for $70 a month, $90 a month for combined Internet and home phone, $130 for Internet and HD digital TV and $150 a month for the entire package of all three services. Non customers will be required to pay an additional $10 a month on all packages.

To pre-register or learn more about C Spire Fiber to the Home, visit www.cspire.com/fiberhome.

About C Spire
C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class, customer-inspired wireless communications, 1 Gigabit consumer Internet access as well as a full suite of dedicated Internet, wireless, IP Voice, data and cloud services for businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.