C Spire launches faster Internet availability at UM’s The Pavilion

Published 6:00 am Sunday, February 14, 2016

University of Mississippi students now have a new high-tech hangout where they can study, relax and check social media, play an online game or just “veg out” after class on the Internet — thanks to the C Spire Speedzone inside the school’s new $96.5 million multipurpose arena.

The Mississippi-based telecommunications and technology services company flipped the switch last week on its ultra-fast Wi-Fi Internet service inside an 11,000-square-foot concourse area of The Pavilion at Ole Miss.  Previously, the service was available only during home games for the men’s and women’s basketball program.

The area features a 1 Gigabit-per-second fiber optic-enabled WiFi network and is outfitted with iPads that provide students, fans and visitors with access to Ole Miss sports programs, live streaming of all Rebel Nation social media and charging ports for smartphones, tablets, laptops and other electronic devices.

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“Whether students are studying, enjoying some down time by streaming music, movies or playing an online game, the C Spire Speedzone provides them with unparalleled connectivity speeds and coverage,” said Michael Thompson, Ole Miss senior associate athletics director for communications and marketing.

C Spire installed more than 5.5 miles of Gigabit Ethernet cable and nearly a mile of fiber optic cable inside the building along with 199 network access points and 474 ultra-fast Wi-Fi radio transceivers — all designed to provide users with world-class Internet speed and connectivity inside the Speedzone area and the building.

“Our Speedzone delivers tomorrow’s technology today to an area that is quickly becoming a student social hub,” said Ward Toler, market manager for C Spire in Oxford. “We’re excited about the opportunities this high-tech infrastructure is unlocking for students and, on game days, Rebel fans.”

The Speedzone features Rebel Wi-Fi powered by C Spire, giving students and staff on the 840-acre campus the fastest available fiber optic connectivity and Internet experience on game days and throughout the week, Thompson said.

While actual speeds may vary based on the type and age of the device, the Wi-Fi-enabled Internet access available in C Spire Speedzone is up to three times faster on average than other similar connections on the Ole Miss campus, he added.

“As more people learn about the speeds and connectivity available in the C Spire Speedzone, it will become a second student union, a destination where students feel comfortable spending time and taking ownership of the space,” said Keith Carter, senior associate athletics director for development and executive director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation.

Carter said Ole Miss students are among some of the most technologically advanced in the U.S. with many carrying three or more electronic devices — smartphones, tablets and laptops — everywhere they go.

Laptops have replaced three-ring binders for organizing class notes, homework is paperless and assignments are submitted wirelessly. Students exchange ideas with teachers and classmates via bits and bytes of information transmitted through iPads, tablets and smartphones. Conversations take place by smartphone, not in calls, but in texts, tweets and even labeled images.

The space is highly contemporary, featuring digital displays of Ole Miss sports Twitter feeds, other social media content and traditional news feeds. All furnishings are power port-enabled, allowing students to sit down, plug in and have instant high-speed Internet access using their smartphones, tablets or laptop computers.

In addition to the technology infrastructure, C Spire also has a physical presence in the Speedzone with a retail kiosk offering a variety of wireless communications and technology products and services.  The interactive concourse area also includes popular fast-food restaurants — Steak ‘n Shake and Raising Cane’s — along with Rebel Locker Room by Lids and the basketball ticket office.