Home » OPINION » Columns » HU MEENA — AT&T desperate to hold on to monopoly as C Spire wins state technology bid

HU MEENA — AT&T desperate to hold on to monopoly as C Spire wins state technology bid

HU MEENA

The Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services (ITS) selected Mississippi’s own C Spire as its partner to procure communication and data services for its state agencies, schools, libraries and other state entities.  The eight-year contract awarded services to C Spire in five categories, including voice and data, and C Spire stands ready to deliver on DAY ONE.

The partnership marks a major turning point for Mississippi, which has had its communications needs monopolized for years by AT&T, using a network teetering on the brink of obsolescence.

By choosing C Spire, the state will immediately improve its communications services with 21st-century solutions and save tens of millions of dollars to boot.  C Spire’s network of tens of millions of fiber feet utilizes advanced IP-based services to provide state-of-the-art voice and data services – keeping Mississippi on the cutting edge now, and for years to come. Under the new contract, state workers will have access to the fastest Internet speeds in Mississippi – up to 106 Gigabits – making Mississippi a tech leader.

The key point is that Mississippi’s Department of ITS chose C Spire for its superior technology at a price that came in $32.8 million lower than AT&T.  This demonstrates that innovative services and cost efficiencies can go hand in hand with the right provider. It also demonstrates that AT&T’s monopoly over the state’s communication services is coming to an end.

We commend Mississippi’s leadership for taking particular responsibility to spend each taxpayer dollar wisely and for putting our citizens’ needs ahead of corporate greed.

Because their monopoly is threatened, AT&T is now working to block the agreement. In response to Mississippi’s partnership with C Spire, AT&T has filed a formal protest against C Spire as the clear winner of voice and data services. Mississippi ITS has now paused the procurement process with C Spire for these services as it works to resolve the protest.

Putting profits before citizens’ needs

For Mississippi, AT&T’s protest is one more example of the company putting its own profits ahead of its customers. For years, Mississippi’s citizens have paid more than they should for services that are just plain inadequate. AT&T has already acknowledged publicly that its old copper network is far behind the curve. In December, AT&T sought permission from the FCC to discontinue many legacy copper-based services across Southwest Bell South territory because of a lack of customer demand and use. If these outdated services are no longer good enough for other states, why should they be good enough for Mississippi?

» HU MEENA is CEO of C Spire

 

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