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April 09, 2018

AT&T continues to keep Mississippi connected

Posted by Mayo Flynt

As you know, AT&T operates in a highly-competitive marketplace and our success depends on the products, services and people of our company. While competition results in innovation and creativity that helps our consumers, it can also bring about unfounded and untrue attacks from some of our competitors. As President of AT&T Mississippi, I will always stand up for the people and integrity of this company. As you may have seen recently in the media, AT&T Mississippi was attacked by C Spire in a malicious, reckless way. Yesterday, I authored a guest column that appeared in the Clarion-Ledger newspaper to set the record straight.

Please feel free to share it with anyone you know to help clarify our company’s position. Thank you.


Mayo Flynt
President — AT&T Mississippi
Follow @mayoflynt

AT&T continues to keep Mississippi connected

At AT&T, we appreciate how healthy competition spurs innovation and benefits consumers. But, there is nothing healthy about the bizarrely reckless and hypocritical attacks made by C-Spire in a recent column.

Thousands of AT&T employees are working each and every day to keep Mississippi’s businesses and residents connected, and with more than 4,000 retirees who call Mississippi home, I want to cut through the propaganda and share with you what is really going on.

Any business with experience serving our communities at the local, state, or federal level understands the need for a fair and open process, including the review of a contract up for bid. This review process ensures that the services meet the needs of the government entity while also protecting the interests of tax payers.

For C-Spire to characterize the time required to complete the review process as “needless” is irresponsible, contrary to well-settled Mississippi laws and regulations, and disrespectful of the due process rights provided to concerned companies. It is certainly not keeping Mississippi’s best interests in mind.

For years, we have served the people of Mississippi by effectively and efficiently providing technology services through a contract with the Department of Information and Technology Services (ITS), under which we have regularly renegotiated rates to reflect changing market dynamics and resulting in cost-savings for the state of Mississippi.

When it came time to re-bid that contract for services, ITS wisely developed a Request for Proposals that allowed state entities to continue doing business uninterrupted using the current infrastructure, equipment, and services, while also providing for the opportunity to transition to a more modern voice and data capable network for department communications.

The RFP required respondents to provide a variety of mandatory services, not only to address the cost of doing business – but more importantly – to protect against service interruptions.

C-Spire’s bid did not offer some of these mandatory services, nor does it have the capability or infrastructure in place to deliver these services to all ITS customers on day one, which was also a mandatory requirement of the RFP. We – on the other hand – offered all mandatory services and are able and prepared to deliver the services on day one.

Because of this, we dispute C-Spire’s ability to accomplish a smooth and successful transition of services for the state departments under the current contract.

Given these gaps between the requirements of the RFP and the selected bid, it is reasonable and appropriate to question and clarify the bidding process to ensure the integrity of Mississippi’s procurement decisions.

Wild, ad hominem public attacks by a competitor in the middle of a review process do not promote a healthy environment for thoughtful review. This is a time for sober evaluation by agency professionals without the pressure of bullying tactics from a nervous vendor.

On our part, we will await the decision of ITS while continuing our long history of serving Mississippi’s residents, businesses, and government entities. For more than 135 years, we have invested in this great state, and the thousands of men and women who work for AT&T and call Mississippi home are turning the billions of dollars we are investing into the modern, high-speed connections that our citizens need.

While others talk about one day bringing modern, innovative services to rural communities, our fixed-wireless, high-speed service is already available to businesses and residents in rural parts of more than 60 counties across the state.

While some talk about a process of “preparing to serve” Mississippians and their communications needs, we already have more than 1.75 million strand miles of fiber-optics stretching across Mississippi, delivering products and the advanced technologies that our customers need.

We are proud to call Mississippi home, and our employees will continue doing the hard work necessary to keep Mississippi connected.

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