Southern Company commits $100 million to Southern LINC development

Southern Company’s board of directors today committed an additional $100 million to the continued development of its Southern LINC digital communications system through 2005.

“This money will go directly toward making improvements in what is already the best digital wireless system in our territory,” said Bob Dawson, president of the Southern Company subsidiary offering Southern LINC. “The additional investments are earmarked for the development of new products and features to take advantage of rapidly advancing technology. We’ll also continue to enhance our coverage area for our customers.”

Southern LINC, which stands for Long-range Integrated Network Communications, has proven popular with a wide range of companies needing extensive internal communications. In particular, companies with mobile workers or employees already using two or more communications devices — two-way radios, pagers and wireless phones, for example — can benefit from the system.

The system originally was designed for Southern Company’s five Southeast electric utilities, which needed a way to communicate voice and data in emergencies like storm recovery operations.

“Southern LINC is currently exceeding its performance expectations, and we’re confident it will continue to do so,” said A.W. Dahlberg, Southern Company’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The board believes this $100 million commitment will ensure Southern LINC’s development as the premier wireless business communications system.”

Southern LINC uses Motorola’s iDEN technology to integrate two-way dispatch, phone service, short text/numeric messaging (paging) and data transmission through a single handset. The service allows communications among work groups across Georgia, Alabama, southeast Mississippi and the Florida panhandle with just the push of a button.

Southern Company (NYSE: SO), the largest producer of electricity in the United States, is the parent firm of Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power and Savannah Electric. Based in Atlanta, Southern Company supplies electricity in eight countries on four continents and provides energy-related marketing, trading and technical services and wireless telecommunications. Southern Company’s common stock is one of the 20 most widely held corporate stocks in America.