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Don’t Eat Your Fiber — Transform Oxford With It

CSpire story (1)

Your mother always told you fiber was important. Now the city of Oxford is competing to bring some of the fastest fiber optic technology ever developed here in an initiative that touches all aspects of community life — from education to health care.

C Spire Wireless has announced plans to deploy fiber optic connectivity to Mississippi communities — but here’s the catch. Without a strong showing of community interest as demonstrated by registrations on the company’s web page and other social media outreach, the technology could go to other Mississippi towns, including Starkville.

“City leaders are completing the “Request for Information” as step one of the process, but we need the entire community to help us in this race to be the first community to receive Fiber to the Home,” explained C Spire president and CEO, Hu Meena. “The community that wants it the most will get it first. It’s that simple.”

C Spire officials say they’re looking for towns with a passion for innovation and a desire to make their community better. Robyn Tannehill, Oxford Board of Aldermen member, is leading the campaign to help Oxford answer the challenge.

“The most important thing people can do is go to the C Spire website and register your name,” Alderman Tannehill explained. “There is no financial commitment and it amounts to signing a petition. C Spire will look at how the registrations cluster by neighborhood and establish a map that graphically reveals the level of interest. The whole process takes about 20 seconds and may make all the difference in our being selected for the Fiber to Home program.”

What’s the payoff if we win?

Alderman Tannehill says it’s literally a transformed community. “This ultra-fast connection will not only mean faster Internet – but also faster job creation, faster innovations in education, healthcare and citizen’s daily lives,” she said. “From an economic development perspective, it will increase our ability to attract high-tech jobs, which we believe is the future for Oxford. It will be a way to provide jobs for our children to have a choice to stay in our community if they choose.”

It’s in health care and education specifically, that Alderman Tannehill foresees an unlimited future of worldwide access. “Think doctor visits with a specialist hundreds or thousands of miles away without leaving the living room,” she said. “From an Education perspective, think live streaming of online courses, project team collaboration and even streaming parent-teacher conferences. Think partnerships between classrooms in Oxford and classrooms in other countries.”

As a part of local government, Alderman Tannehill envisions the day when citizens might attend a virtual town hall meeting from the comfort of their homes. Even everyday entertainment possibilities will enter a new stage. “Think web browsing with instant page changes and no buffering, streaming multiple movies simultaneously,” she said.

The stakes are high, but city leaders believe Oxford will rise to the opportunity.

“This initiative is a perfect match with our One-to-One initiative with Oxford schools,” said Brian Harvey, Oxford School District superintendent. “Our board has allocated funds with the ultimate goal of providing a laptop to every student. In time, we’ll provide students in appropriate grade levels iPads as well.”

Superintendent Harvey says these tools, enhanced by faster connectivity, will open up a wider world for students. That’s why he has met with city officials to help fine-tune Oxford’s response to C Spire’s information request. “Anytime we improve our student’s access to materials, no matter where those resources are located, we’re improving their educational experience,” he said. “We’re pushing the initiative on our social media sites and web page because we think improved access to educational technology not only enhances our student’s learning, but helps their parents learn. And parents are their children’s first educators.”

“I don’t like to lose and I know my neighbors feel the same,” added Alderman Tannehill. “I urge citizens to visit the C Spire web site, tweet, post on Facebook and do anything they can to spread the word about this great opportunity. We’re in the race to be C Spire’s first city to host the company’s new ultra-fast Internet initiative — but we need your help.”

The deadline for the campaign is October 20. How can HottyToddy.com readers help?

• Visit www.cspire.com/fiberhome/fiber_signup.html and let C Spire know you’re ready for them to choose Oxford First.

• “Like” the Oxford Fiber First Facebook page and leave a message for C Spire.

• Follow @cityofoxford on Twitter.

• Tweet @cspire using the hashtag #OxfordFiberFirst to recommend Oxford as the first community to receive Fiber to the Home.

• Participate in Oxford Fiber First’s “You bring the gigs and we’ll byte!” campaign by taking your best ‘byte’ photo and tweeting it along with #OxfordFiberFirst. This is demonstrated on the Oxford Fiber First Facebook page.

Andy Knef, Managing Editor, HottyToddy.com

–You can email Andy at andy.knef@hottytoddy.com

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