C Spire Touts Public-Safety Wireless Benefits in Mississippi
Thursday, January 11, 2018 | Comments

Verizon is not the only wireless carrier vying to retain its public-safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) customers. Regional wireless carrier C Spire released a statement saying it is ready to match its track record against other competitors in Mississippi for public-safety critical wireless broadband communications.

Mississippi-based C Spire was one of two companies that submitted proposals to state officials to consider alternative radio access networks (RANs) to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T state plan. However, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, citing costs and risks to taxpayers, approved a plan on the final day to opt in to FirstNet, which awarded AT&T a 25-year contract to build the new infrastructure in 50 states.

"While we respect that decision, it's important to note that this new, nationalized public-safety network cannot be built over night, and no public-safety agencies or first responders are required to change their service provider because the state opted in," said C Spire President Stephen Bye. "There is no requirement to use FirstNet; it will be years before the band 14 network is fully operational with ubiquitous coverage to match C Spire's network in Mississippi."

FirstNet Board Member Kevin McGinnis and FirstNet Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) Chairman Tom Sorley criticized carriers — Verizon specifically — that are targeting the public-safety LTE market. They said FirstNet and AT&T should not interoperate with other public-safety LTE dedicated cores, such as the one Verizon said it will launch, and encouraged public-safety users to move to AT&T’s FirstNet service. McGinnis and Sorley made the remarks earlier this week during a National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) meeting.

Bye said C Spire will continue to provide innovative and leading-edge services to first responders in the state, adding that the company will soon announce additional innovative solutions for public safety.

Bye said C Spire made extensive preparations and network investments in 2005 to withstand Hurricane Katrina and continued to leverage its investment in critical broadband infrastructure in response to the Louisville, Mississippi, tornado in 2014. Last year, the carrier provided high-capacity wireless broadband connections to emergency services personnel responding to the U.S. Marine Corps KC-130 aircraft crash in rural Leflore County.

"We need partners that will support and protect Mississippi, its people and its valuable assets in emergency situations and in times of need," said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Lee Smithson. "We value relationships with companies like C Spire and look forward to continuing to respond effectively to emergencies and disasters in the future."

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