It’s time for AT&T to stop the legal foot-dragging and let C Spire roll out its high speed network for the benefit of Mississippi government and the taxpayers who foot the bill.
In 2017, the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services selected C Spire in a competitive bidding process as its high-speed voice and internet provider for state agencies and universities. C Spire’s eight-year contract will significantly modernize the state’s communications infrastructure. And it will cost much less — almost $33 million over the life of the contract.
After losing the bid, AT&T began a protracted legal battle to stop C Spire from getting the state business. During the 28-month legal delay, the state has paid, according to C Spire’s estimate, an extra $21.6 million than it otherwise would have if it had not been blocked from changing providers. The clock is still ticking at a cost of $770,000 per month to taxpayers.
When the Mississippi Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a couple of weeks ago a lower court’s decision in favor of C Spire, it seemed that finally the path was clear to proceed. But now AT&T attorneys have asked for additional time to file a motion asking the state’s highest court to rehear the case.
Enough is enough. Given the high court’s unanimous verdict, there is no reason to rehear the case. It’s time to move on and force AT&T’s stalling tactics to end.
The telecommunications giant made an inferior bid to a fast-growing, innovative competitor. It deserved to lose the business. Simple as that.