When Ole Miss opened the $96.5 million Pavilion with a 74-66 victory over Alabama on Jan. 7, 2016, it was the start of a new era in Ole Miss basketball.
Nearly a month later on Feb. 7, the C Spire Speedzone opened up in The Pavilion, offering students a high-tech place to hang out, study or even play on an online gaming console such as Xbox or Play Station four. The Speedzone, open until 8 p.m. on non-game days during the week, is right outside Raising Cane’s and Steak & Shake.
The Pavilion is laced with more than a mile of fiber-optic cable, allowing the C Spire Speedzone to provide a stronger Wi-Fi connection.
Dave Miller, the company spokesperson for C Spire, said the Speedzone will provide students an opportunity to do homework, surf the internet or just relax on their Wi-Fi enabled device.
The C Spire Speedzone features one gigabyte-per-second Wi-Fi and contains iPads throughout the area, ensuring students are never away from internet access.
“As a student, we’re always looking for a place to hang out with internet access,” sophomore elementary education major William Mixon said. “Whether we’re doing homework or just procrastinating, looking at Twitter, we always are looking for Wi-Fi. The Speedzone allows us a place to eat, hangout, and have really fast internet. It’s pretty cool that we get to eat right by the basketball court as well.”
C Spire has invested in Mississippi college athletics the past 18 years, sponsoring the Gillom, Howell, Conerly and Ferriss trophies, which are awarded to the top Mississippi college athletes in women’s basketball, men’s basketball, football and baseball respectively.
Along with their investment in college athletics throughout Mississippi, Miller said C Spire has long been invested in higher education in Mississippi.
C Spire and Ole Miss made a concerted effort to provide internet to its fans on game days. Starting in the 2014 football season, C Spire has provided Wi-Fi in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to fans.
“The idea is that people want to experience the game but they also want to stay connected to people,” senior associate athletic director for communications and marketing, Michael Thompson said. “They want to use their phone to use lot of social media.”
Miller said with the amenities that the Speedzone provides, it could turn into a permanent hangout spot for students.
“With all of the technology and extremely fast Wi-Fi, in the future it could serve as a second Student Union,” Miller said.
– Collin Brister