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C Spire Ready for 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Telecom Provider Bolsters Network to Maintain Service in the Worst Conditions

Ridgeland, Miss., (May 26, 2015) – C Spire is using National Hurricane Preparedness Week to put the finishing touches on efforts to bolster its network resources and mobilize employees on the eve of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season.

The initial outlook from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters is expected later this week, but Colorado State University predicts as many as seven named tropical storms to form in the Atlantic Ocean during the six-month period that officially begins on June 1. Three of those storms could strengthen into hurricanes with top winds of at least 74 mph and one could become a major hurricane with maximum winds of 111 mph or more.

While the risk this year is expected to be one of the lowest in recent memory thanks to an El Nino effect, which causes stronger wind shear and reduces the number and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes, it’s still important for residents and businesses in hurricane-prone areas to prepare for the worst, according to emergency response officials.

C Spire prepares its extensive wireless and wireline networks and workforce for a wide range of potential disasters, including major weather events such as hurricanes. The company routinely reviews and updates its emergency preparedness plans and conducts drills throughout the year to test the readiness of its network and employees.

"Our preparations are designed to give customers maximum reliability for all of their communications at the time of greatest need," said Eric Hollingsworth, senior vice president of Network Operations for C Spire. "When disaster strikes, people depend on telecommunications as a lifeline to the outside world. We are committed to providing our customers with the best network coverage possible in every situation.”

Last year was only the fourth below-normal season in the last 20 years since 1995 when the current high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes began. Eight tropical and subtropical storms formed in the Atlantic basin in 2014, but only three became hurricanes and only one, Hurricane Arthur, made U.S. landfall. Arthur, with 100 mph winds, caused $3.3 billion in damages from flooding and severe thunderstorms in eastern North Carolina and Massachusetts.

Hollingsworth said the company’s 1,450-member workforce, along with its extensive network resources, will be on "high alert" throughout the 2015 hurricane season, which begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. C Spire also stands ready to activate its Emergency Response Plan, which guides the deployment of company resources and personnel during a crisis.

C Spire routinely takes precautionary steps and puts restoration teams on stand by and masses equipment and materials to protect critical network facilities and cell sites. The company uses back up batteries and diesel generators at mobile sites and switching centers and makes arrangements for replacement fuel supplies in case normal fuel delivery options are interrupted by commercial power outages.

The company operates two multi-million dollar, hurricane-ready “super switches” in Mobile, Alabama and in Hattiesburg, Mississippi that provide added protection and service assurance for customers in south Mississippi, along the Gulf Coast and in south Alabama and the Florida panhandle.

Both high-tech telecommunications switching facilities, which are designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane with winds up to 200 miles an hour, connect millions of calls, wireless data transmissions and other critical services daily for consumer and business customers. In addition to hardened and reinforced shells, the all-steel and concrete structures house a pair of redundant, large-scale 500 kilowatt diesel power generators, a grid of back up batteries and other back-up systems, operations and technologies.

C Spire also relies on an extensive network of microwave technology that can circumvent damaged or destroyed landline systems and ensure that wireless calls can be routed to their final destination, Hollingsworth said. “This microwave technology is critical to support communications during natural disasters when landline systems are inoperable,” he added.

“This infrastructure and our continuing network investments will help ensure that essential communications continue for our consumer and business customers even when we experience severe weather and other life-threatening situations,” Hollingsworth said.

The company is coordinating its emergency response preparations with local, state and federal agencies, including the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the office of Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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.