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TED CARTER: Digital daredevils bringing new mojo to telecom world

Hu Meena

Hu Meena

I imagine a Washington, D.C., newsroom back in May 1844. The city editor gets a tip that a guy named Morse was about to use something called “electricity” to send a letter to Baltimore.

One lucky reporter gets grabbed as he passes the city desk on returning from lunch. Get over to Samuel Morse’s place and find out what’s going on with this thing called the telegraph, he’s told.

Man o’ Live! The reporter exclaims after Morse patiently details how this “transmission” to Baltimore will get through. It’s all about opening and closing an electric circuit,” Morse tells the scribe, who says to himself: “Yeah, OK, whatever that is.”

This is 1844, after all.

» READ MORE — MBJ BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR — Forward thinking: C Spire’s Hu Meena has made the most of 2013

In the next hours, the news guy struggles and strives until he gets a rudimentary understanding of what was about to happen and how it would happen.

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It’s all about the “zeros” and the “ones,” Morse would tell the befuddled reporter to try to get across how a written word can be in one place one instant and many miles away the next. You’re using the “zeroes” and the “ones” to manipulate an electrical circuit, the soon-to-be telecom icon explains.

The reporter is still marveling as he writes the story, complete with the “What hath God wrought? “ digital-like message to neighboring Baltimore.

Today, as 2013 closes, it’s looking as though our telecom world might be ready to commence a “What hath God wrought?” moment or two.

And when it does, we’ll hear it’s all about the “zeroes” and the “ones.”

At least that’s how I expect Victor Hu Meena Jr. will explain it on that day.

The 56-year-old Clarksdale native heads CSpire, a 1,200-employee Ridgeland telecommunications outfit that has innovated its way to the edge of the digital frontier.

They’ve got some genuine digital daredevils working there who are set to shake things up in hugely positive ways – at least you’ll see it that way if you are a fan of ever-faster and efficient-ways to instantaneously link together people, businesses and institutions and to transmit billions and billions of pieces of data in all its various forms.

The CSpire crew and their investors like their odds — and why not: Who doesn’t want Internet speeds 100 times faster than the broadband that’s out there?

And what business wouldn’t want a way to make sense out of a global data stream poised to start doubling in size every few years?

Consider this bit of market research from CEO Meena: In the last two years alone,  the world created more data than throughout the history of man.

And more important for Mississippi, CSpire is T-totally rooted in the Magnolia State. It already gives Mississippi an economic engine with the kind of giddy-up other states envy. The engine is set to take off fueled by some high-octane innovation.

The deliveries it’ll make include an ever-expanding and diversifying CSpire as well as modern new industries, many from the Creative Economy.

And thousands of jobs.

I’d almost be willing to bet a considerable fortune (if I had one) that when America’s telecom sector has its next “What hath God wrought?” moment, the whole thing just might originate off Colony Parkway at the CSpire headquarters.


» Ted Carter is staff writer for the Mississippi Business Journal.


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