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Tombigbee Fiber Enables First Responders to Deliver Lifesaving Services in Rural Mississippi With Free Wi-Fi Built on Calix SmartTown

Tombigbee Fiber continues to build on a commitment to improve life for families in rural Mississippi by leveraging Calix SmartTown to connect 68 first responder organizations with free, secure Wi-Fi that extends lifesaving emergency services to everyone in the area

Today, Calix, Inc. (NYSE: CALX) announced that Tombigbee Fiber, LLC (Tombigbee) is the first customer to leverage the community-wide network they created with Calix SmartTown™ to grant first responders free access to secure and reliable Wi-Fi. This initiative ensures 68 first responder organizations in Mississippi have access to ubiquitous coverage at no cost—making a positive impact well beyond the Tombigbee customer base to benefit tens of thousands more residents. Soon, the Tombigbee team will deliver the same support to an additional 43 volunteer fire stations to reach hundreds more people.

“Parts of our communities cannot even access reliable cell service,” said Scott Hendrix, chief executive officer at Tombigbee Fiber and Tombigbee Electric Power Association. “The Tombigbee network, now free of cost to first responders, will save lives. It will support rural patients in need of immediate healthcare, provide critical communication lines for first responders, and ensure deputies have the backup they need in crucial moments. These are services every person deserves to have access to, regardless of where they live.”

To transform how first responders in rural Mississippi save lives and service the community, Tombigbee leverages the capabilities of SmartTown and the complete Calix Broadband Platform. Specifically, the Tombigbee team:

  • Strategically deployed Calix Wi-Fi systems for expanded coverage. To launch SmartTown to their communities across Lee and Itawamba counties, Tombigbee deployed the Calix GigaPro® p6he outdoor system in critical areas. With these access points in place, first responders can automatically connect to reliable broadband at a moment’s notice. Tombigbee will soon extend these services to Pontotoc County.
  • Educated 68 first-responder organizations. Tombigbee worked closely with the award-winning Calix Customer Success Services team to plan informational sessions for first responders and public officials. After engaging with the community, Tombigbee saw enthusiastic responses and signups.

“Enabling first responders with free Wi-Fi is our way to give back to those communities and customers we serve,” said Hendrix. “If we can aid in saving one life, then we have succeeded.”

Established in 2019 by member-owned cooperative Tombigbee Electric Power Association, Tombigbee Fiber swiftly recognized the pressing need for essential managed services in northern Mississippi. Leveraging their partnership with Calix, they pioneered utilizing managed services to transform their community. They were the first broadband service provider (BSP) to deploy SmartTown to their entire network footprint. They transformed the Friday night football experience at nine high school stadiums with SmartTown and now offer connectivity at all high school fields in the regions they serve. Ahead of the 2023 school year, they introduced Bark, a text-and-social media monitoring tool available as a managed service on the Calix Platform. Launched in just two weeks, Bark helps keep kids and families safe from the damaging effects of cyberbullying. Additionally, Tombigbee offers Calix home network security services and advanced content controls to every customer at no extra cost.

Thanks to these efforts, Tombigbee has earned an impressive Net Promoter Score℠ (NPS®) of 91 in an industry where such scores are frequently in the single or negative digits.

“Tombigbee’s success stems from a unique service approach that has had a profound impact on Mantachie and every town they serve,” said Matt Fennell, mayor of Mantachie, Mississippi, and manager of fiber services at Tombigbee Fiber. “The Tombigbee team is focused on enhancing community life beyond just selling products. Instead of competing with for-profit companies indifferent to community welfare, we choose to invest directly in our community’s connectivity and wellbeing, making it not only safer but also a more desirable place to live.”

“Rural communities need BSPs who step up to do more than provide a connection, and in northern Mississippi, Tombigbee is expanding what they do for the community every day,” said Michael Weening, president and chief executive officer at Calix. “They started by providing ProtectIQ® home network virus, malware, and phishing protection in all packages to ensure that every single customer, including vulnerable elderly and families with young children, can access safe internet experiences. Last year, they deployed SmartTown to provide access to safe Wi-Fi at 9 local football fields. Now, they are making the community safer by supporting lifesaving first responders.

“When a first responder drives up to a Tombigbee-connected home with bad cell service, they can be assured that their devices will remain safely connected through SmartTown. This initiative reflects Tombigbee's commitment to improving life in their community and reinforces their 91 NPS. Tombigbee is the first Calix customer to identify the first responder use case for SmartTown, and they made it happen fast—without requiring additional capital investment. We are proud to be their partner in helping to make the Mississippi communities they have served for 90+ years a safer place to live.”

Watch this video to learn how Tombigbee transforms life in northern Mississippi by leveraging the Calix Broadband Platform and managed services.

About Calix

Calix, Inc. (NYSE: CALX)—Calix is a cloud and appliance-based platform and managed services company. Broadband service providers leverage the Calix broadband platform, cloud, and managed services to simplify operations, engagement, and service; innovate for their consumer, business, and municipal subscribers; and grow their business and the communities they serve.

Our end-to-end platform and managed services democratize the use of data—enabling our customers of any size to operate efficiently, acquire subscribers, and deliver exceptional experiences. Calix is dedicated to driving continuous improvement in partnership with our growing ecosystem to support the transformation of our customers and their communities.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that are based upon management’s current expectations and are inherently uncertain. Forward-looking statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this release, and we assume no obligation to revise or update any such forward-looking statement to reflect any event or circumstance after the date of this release, except as required by law. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from current expectations based on risks and uncertainties affecting Calix’s business. The reader is cautioned not to rely on the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Additional information on potential factors that could affect Calix’s results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed in its quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC and available at

Calix and the Calix logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Calix and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Calix’s trademarks can be found at Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

Net Promoter®, NPS®, NPS Prism®, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld. Net Promoter Score℠ and Net Promoter System℠ are service marks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.


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