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C Spire in home stretch of deal with ESPN to carry SEC Network on its new digital HD television service

With the launch of one of the most anticipated sports networks in recent history less than five weeks away, C Spire disclosed today that it is in the final stages of a deal to carry the SEC Network as part of its new digital HD TV service.

C Spire expects to secure rights to the programming from ESPN in time for the launch of the new network on Aug. 14. The first SEC football games to be televised on the network will air on Thursday, Aug. 28 with Temple at Vanderbilt and Texas A & M traveling to Columbia to take on South Carolina. Every SEC football team will play on the network in the first month.

“Contract talks have gone well and a distribution agreement is imminent that will give SEC fans who subscribe to our C Spire digital television service access to this must-have college sports programming and content,” said Suzy Hays, senior vice president of Consumer Markets for C Spire.

An agreement will pave the way for consumer access in all C Spire Fiber to the Home cities in Mississippi who have qualified for the company’s next-generation 1 Gigabit per second ultra-fast broadband Internet access, related digital HD television and home phone services.

The company expects to begin offering the digital TV service, including a standard package of sports channels that feature the family of ESPN stations, the SEC Network, Fox Sports South, the NFL Network, Major League Baseball, Fox Sports 1 and Velocity, late this summer in Quitman, Ridgeland and Starkville.

“C Spire has multiple SEC schools in our footprint and we are home to some of the most passionate college sports fans in the world,” Hays said, noting that a recent online poll of 6,400 SEC football fans by Bleacher Report indicated that nearly 80 percent were willing to switch providers to ensure they have access to the SEC Network. “As a company that gets its inspiration from our customers, we couldn’t envision offering a TV service that didn’t give them a chance to continue experiencing the rich history and tradition of some of the most storied rivalries in sports.”

The SEC Network is expected to air more than 1,000 live events in its first year, including at least 45 exclusive SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games and other events from across the Southeastern Conference’s 21 college sports.

For more information on C Spire’s digital TV service, visit www.cspire.com/fiberhome.

About C Spire

C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class service and a superior, comprehensive suite of customer-inspired wireless communications, high-speed Internet access and a range of other telecommunications products and services to consumers and 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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