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C Spire celebrates first commercial 1 Gbps Fiber to the Home customer launch in Starkville with 100x faster Internet, super HD TV and home phone service

Only statewide 1 Gig ultra-fast consumer broadband initiative in the U.S. promises to boost home values, attract high-tech investment and provide new, higher paying jobs

Starkville, Miss. (November 12, 2014) – Starkville may soon be leading the nation in more than just college football as C Spire activates the town’s first customers on its ultra-high speed 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) broadband Internet network.

C Spire, a Ridgeland-based diversified telecommunications and technology services company, turned up service today for its first commercial Fiber to the Home customers in Starkville, making the college town one of the first in Mississippi and one of only a handful nationwide with access to fiber-based broadband Internet that is 100 times faster than the national average along with super HD TV and related home phone services.

Local government, business and community leaders joined C Spire executives to celebrate the historic technology milestone at a news conference Wednesday outside the home of Starkville resident Lynn Spruill, who is among the first Gigabit Internet customers in the town.

Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman, who traveled around the country studying how a handful of other U.S. cities managed to gain similar technology in his efforts to get the infrastructure in his town, said consumer interest continues to grow in Starkville as commercial service is more widely available.

“Now that Gigabit speeds are a reality here, people can experience it and tell their friends and neighbors about how amazing it is,” Wiseman said. “It’s one thing to say that you have Internet 100 times faster than anything currently available on the market, but it’s quite another thing to experience it and see what it’s like up close and personal.”

Spruill said residents are thrilled about getting improved services and for the prospect of helping the city become a hub for technology investment, economic expansion and a better quality of life. “I’m excited about the possibilities for the future and the role this infrastructure might play in transforming our city and improving the quality of life,” she said.

The city was one of the first to qualify for the next-generation services earlier this year along with areas in the cities of Quitman and Ridgeland. C Spire already has turned up service for its first commercial customers in Quitman and will activate service in Ridgeland later today.

C Spire and local officials were jointed at the news conference by key technology leaders and advocates, who discussed how the game-changing technology will benefit residents, businesses and students.

One key ingredient to success is the need to educate and advise consumers about the capabilities of the infrastructure for individuals as well as the broader community, according to Roberto Gallardo, director of the Intelligent Community Institute, which is part of the Center for Technology Outreach and the Center for Government and Community Development at Mississippi State University. Gallardo recently forged an agreement with the New York-based Intelligent Community Foundation to start an Intelligent Community Institute in Mississippi that will help cities better understand how to use the 21st century infrastructure.

C Spire is on a mission to move Starkville and other Mississippi cities from worst to first in national rankings for average Internet speeds and consumer access to super-fast broadband services, according to COO Kevin Hankins.

“Fiber to the Home can be a transformative technology for communities, serving as a platform for innovation and a host of new Internet applications and experiences yet to be imagined,” Hankins said. “We’re determined to show the world that Starkville and these other cities are ready to be a catalyst for technology investment, economic growth and job creation.”

Homeowner pre-registration in the cities began in December. Since that time, local government, community and business leaders have rallied residents in Quitman, Ridgeland and Starkville to sign up at levels that qualified multiple areas in each city for the service. Construction started in May in the first neighborhoods.

Hankins said the strong support and engagement of cities is the primary reason for the fast-moving initiative’s success thus far. Since announcing the cities last November, C Spire has moved from vision to reality in 12 months. In contrast, Google, one of the largest technology companies in the world, took nearly three years before it selected and began offering Gigabit fiber services in Kansas City, Kansas. “Our initiative is a great example of what can be accomplished when cities, communities and business leaders work together to move Mississippi forward,” he said.

Besides its Fiber to the Home initiative, C Spire is investing heavily in Starkville, opening a new $23 million world-class commercial data center earlier this month, which represents the largest private sector development in the region’s history. The center promises to boost regional business technology infrastructure and spur new investment and expansion opportunities.

For C Spire customers, the 1 Gbps Internet access is 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 must pay an additional $10 a month on all packages.

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.