SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Trevor Parsons, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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C Spire Celebrates Start of Construction in Quitman for 1 Gbps Fiber to the Home Initiative Offering 100 Times Faster Consumer Broadband Internet Access

Quitman, Mississippi will soon be famous for more than just serving as the hometown of former NBA star Antonio McDyess.

That’s because C Spire’s quest to offer 100 times faster consumer broadband Internet service in Quitman and eight other Mississippi cities moved a giant step closer to reality with the start of construction this week on its ultra-high speed 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) Fiber to the Home initiative in this quaint Clarke County town.

C Spire crews began installing fiber optic cable in Quitman this week – marking another milestone in the Mississippi company’s mission to move the Magnolia state from worst to first in national rankings for average Internet speeds and consumer access to super-fast broadband services. Quitman is the first city to qualify its entire population for the game-changing infrastructure.

Quitman Mayor Eddie Fulton, Clarke County Supervisor Mickey Long and a host of other government, business and community leaders and dignitaries joined C Spire COO Kevin Hankins Wednesday at a news conference to celebrate the historic development.

Hankins noted that C Spire is building the first statewide 1 Gbps fiber to the home network in the U.S. The initiative already represents the largest single deployment of this infrastructure – in terms of total cities at one time – in North America.

“Fiber to the Home is a transformative technology for communities, serving as a platform for innovation and new Internet experiences yet to be imagined,” Hankins said. “We’re going to show the world that Quitman and other C Spire Fiber cities in Mississippi are ready to become hubs for technology investment, economic growth and job creation.”

Nine Mississippi cities, including Batesville, Clinton, Corinth, Hattiesburg, Horn Lake, McComb, Quitman, Ridgeland and Starkville, were selected by C Spire last November for the game-changing technology after the company said it would use its 4,600 miles of fiber optic infrastructure and spend millions of dollars to connect cities in the first phase.

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 six areas, including the entire town of Quitman, for the service. Hankins said interest is high in the next-generation service with thousands of homeowners in 80 of the 81 specially-designed fiberhoods paying a $10 fee and pre-registering for the service. The company expects more areas in additional cities to qualify soon.

While construction is starting in Quitman, Hankins said work is also underway in other C Spire Fiber cities. C Spire crews began laying fiber optic cable for last mile connections in Ridgeland neighborhoods earlier this month. Construction in Starkville should begin next month.

Hankins said the strong support and engagement from cities is the primary reason for the fast-moving initiative’s success thus far. When it launches service in the first C Spire Fiber cities later this summer, the company will have moved from vision to reality in less than 12 months. In comparison, Google took nearly three years before it selected and began offering Gigabit fiber service 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.

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.”

Fulton lauded a team of community, business and education volunteers who helped him develop a grassroots campaign to persuade Quitman residents in less than three months that Gigabit infrastructure was important to the city’s future. “We have some very passionate people who care about the future of our town and our citizens,” he said. Quitman is the first Mississippi town to qualify its entire city for the game-changing technology.

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. As long as they continue to make progress, Hankins said the company plans to keep pre-registration open through the end of the 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 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.

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