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C Spire Partners With City of Jackson to Provide Free Gigabit Internet Access at Two Community Centers to Help Educate Residents on Technology Benefits

Ultra-fast fiber optic broadband connections will help city expand computer learning lab and offer digital literacy courses at the centers to school-age children, adults and seniors

Jackson, Miss. (March 12, 2015) – Mississippi’s largest city and its state capital is joining forces with C Spire in a technology program to help Jackson residents learn more about the benefits of ultra-fast 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) Fiber to the Home broadband Internet access.

City leaders and C Spire executives announced plans today to provide free Gigabit Internet access at two municipal community centers that promise to boost awareness about the benefits of 100 times faster broadband fiber-based Internet access and related super HD TV and home phone services.

The technology program, which is expected to help the city expand its computer learning lab at the Johnnie C. Champion Community Center and offer digital literacy classes at the Medgar Evers Community Center, is being turned up as Jackson qualifies its first two areas – Eastover and Fondren East – for the next-generation services.

Homeowner pre-registration in two areas exceeded the required threshold on Wednesday – qualifying both for a warp-speed leap into the future with some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world that are only available today in a handful of other U.S. cities.

C Spire expects to finish construction and activate Gigabit Internet service in the community centers by the first week in June, which is when the Ridgeland-based telecom and technology services company plans to begin construction in the city’s first two fiberhoods. Commercial service is expected to be available in those areas in early November.

Online pre-registration began in Jackson last fall at www.cspire.com/jackson. Since that time, several thousand residents throughout the city have expressed their interest in the suite of game-changing services by making $10 refundable deposits and providing credit card information.

Instead of dividing neighborhoods into pre-determined sections, C Spire allowed residents to determine whether and how quickly their areas qualified for construction through a new “heat map” approach during the pre-registration process. “As a customer-inspired company, we felt this approach was the best way to help ensure that we get Gigabit speeds to more people faster,” said Suzy Hays, senior vice president of Consumer Markets.

Hays said Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber and his staff have played a key role in helping educate and encourage residents throughout the city to pre-register for the services and have been instrumental in keeping the fast-moving initiative moving forward. “Momentum is important and the mayor and his staff have been a driving force in the progress we’ve experienced thus far as they have rallied volunteers, schools, community groups, churches and homeowner associations to catch the vision.”

Yarber said widely available Gigabit infrastructure can help the city address some of its most pressing needs in education, health care and business expansion while improving home values. “We have a chance to change the narrative about our city in a profound manner and pave the way for a future filled with hope and prosperity.”

The mayor said the community center efforts and other related programs will help ensure that all Jackson residents understand the benefits of this new technology. “We’re excited about the progress we’ve made, but we need to continue to build understanding about the tremendous economic and quality-of-life improvements this infrastructure can help us achieve.”

Operators of the two community centers said the ultra-fast Internet access will help them deliver a comprehensive digital literacy curriculum for adults and seniors, including advanced computer skills, how to use an Internet browser, send and receive e-mail messages and search and apply for jobs online.

“We try to help everyone build their computer knowledge and skills,” said Jaquana Glasper, community service coordinator at the Johnny Champion Community Center. “Some people already know how to type while others have experience in surfing the web, but this high-speed connection will help our instruction be that much more effective.” Future plans also call for expansion of the computer lab to after-school and summer learning programs.

Jackson is the 6th and largest city to qualify for the historic statewide technology initiative. C Spire turned up commercial Gigabit Internet and related services for its first residential customers in Quitman, Ridgeland and Starkville last year and expects to activate service in Clinton and Corinth later this year.

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 super HD TV and $150 a month for the entire package of all three services. Non customers are required to pay an additional $10 a month on all packages.

To learn more about C Spire’s Fiber to the Home initiative or to pre-register for the service, 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.