The Electric Co-op Rural Broadband Movement is under way!
Electric cooperatives across the country are making a significant impact in rural America, making a brighter future possible for millions!
Through the tireless efforts of Conexon’s partner cooperatives, more than 150,000 electric co-op members have been connected to gigabit-capable networks, and are today realizing the education, economic and lifestyle benefits of world-class broadband. We celebrate their success and invite other cooperatives to join the movement to bridge the digital divide!
OzarksGo is blazing a trail across Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma, encompassing 7,000 miles of fiber to serve 100% of its 79,000 members and other communities with TV, phone and internet.
- OzarksGo built out of territory to provide Stilwell with high-speed internet, helping keep businesses in the area.
- OzarksGo’s $23 million CAF II award positioned the co-op to operate without subsidies from the electric side and break even in year 3 versus year 5.
Co-Mo Connect’s FTTH project spans more than 4, 050 miles to serve 100% of its 32,000 members—as well as surrounding communities— with world-class broadband services.
- Celebrating a decade of offering triple play – internet, TV, phone – to 100% of members
- The nation’s first co-op to build out an FTTH network to 100% of its membership without federal grants or subsidies.
United Electric Cooperative has 7,500 co-op members and, at 2.5 meters per mile, the lowest density of any co-op in the country deploying FTTH. Its deployment of TV, internet and phone has been highly successful.
- Profitable broadband subsidiary helping subsidize the electric side
- "United Fiber won a significant amount in the CAF II auction. This was made possible by hard work, strategy and choosing the right partners. We would not have been successful without the help of the Rural Electric Consortium and Conexon." -Jim Bagley, United Electric Cooperative CEO/General Manager
OEC Fiber’s project will span more than 5,500 miles of fiber to serve 100% of its 43,000 members—as well as surrounding communities— with high-speed internet, TV and phone.
- High customer demand in communities outside the electric footprint. Recently launched Triple Play - Broadband, Voice and TV. Speedy Broadband Deployment – connecting more than 11,000 new subscribers in 16 months.
- “Having access to the Conexon team and expertise has been great. In the beginning, there was a lot of handholding, and now that we’re into deployment, they still provide a great sanity check. We have a Conexon team on-site that oversees construction, making sure things are going according to plan. That’s been crucial.” -Patrick Grace CEO, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative
Midwest Energy & Communications delivered a much-needed broadband solution spanning 3,940 fiber miles to reach 100% of its 35,000 members in rural southern Michigan and northern Indiana and Ohio.
"Conexon was instrumental in developing and implementing a successful strategy that helped us secure funding through the CAF II auction process. Not only does this support enable us to hit key financial targets, we can now reach new markets and customers while doing our part to help close the rural/urban digital divide that exists in our country." -Bob Hance President & CEO of Midwest Energy & Communications
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Pioneering Bolt Fiber’s 2,400-mile FTTH project offers high-speed internet, TV and phone services for Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative’s 30,000 members and surrounding communities.
- Strong demand from out-of-territory residents – making up 10% of subscribers
- “A lot of firms can do feasibility studies, but have never built a network. Go with someone like Conexon who has done this and has experience in fiber to the home. You don’t want to be a guinea pig or have an outside firm learning on your job” -Daniel Webster, CEO, North East Oklahoma Electric Cooperative
- CARES Act funding fast-tracks Mississippi cooperative’s 4,000-mile build to bring broadband Internet and phone to 84,000 members, with first customers connected in less than 5 months.
CoastConnect offering gigabit-symmetrical fiber Internet with no data caps for a lower monthly price than region’s existing 200 Mbps service with data limits.
- “At Coast Electric, we have extremely high customer satisfaction ratings, and we have those for a reason. We believe that anyone we partner with is going to treat our customers and our members as well as we do. Everything we’ve asked for, Conexon has delivered on.”
-Ron Barnes, President and CEO, Coast Electric
- One of the first electric power associations in Mississippi to move to fiber to the home, Tombigbee Fiber planning a 3,000-mile build to offer service to 100% of its 43,980 members.
Installing community hotspots in unserved areas throughout cooperative territory to offer free public WiFi for residents.
- “Our co-op has long maintained a commitment to providing a vital service to the communities and members we serve, affordably and accessibly. We are pleased to work with Conexon, because of the team’s extensive experience, to now offer broadband in that same spirit.” -Scott Hendrix, CEO
Forked Deer Electric Cooperative’s 3,000-mile FTTH project, is ushering in a new era for rural west Tennessee, bringing high speed internet and high-quality phone service to 10,000 homes and businesses
- Installed its first customer in mid-2019 and, in just 18 months, has surpassed 1,100. Entered the final phases of construction and provisioning, and doubled the speed of construction as of January 2020. Network projected to be complete by the end of 2021 – a year ahead of schedule
- “Our ability to offer broadband to our rural areas is tremendous, and speaks directly to our 80-year commitment to make lives better in the communities we serve. "We had looked at a couple of companies, and were most comfortable with Conexon because we felt Randy and the team were conservative and realistic about what we could expect. As it turns out, the projected take rates in Conexon’s plans are very close to what we’re achieving.”-Jeff Newman, CEO - Forked Deer Electric
The NE Sparc (North East Mississippi Electric Power Association) fiber-to-the-home network will span 1600 miles and serve more than 26,000 Mississippi homes and businesses with high-speed internet and quality voice services.
- In 2020, the co-op was awarded $4.8 million, a grant that enabled it to initially deploy high-speed internet access to many of the state’s underserved areas.
- Overcoming weather delays and other obstacles, the co-op has built nearly 500 miles of fiber in 2020, serving four substations.
- M-Pulse already connecting residential customers with fiber network spanning 1,500 miles and serving 100% of its 10,800 members with Internet and phone within 3 years.
- Leveraging $4.2 million in CARES Act funding to connect members in unserved and underserved communities first.
- “It's important for us to offer the best service possible for our members and that’s a goal Conexon shares. From the first meeting, we immediately felt comfortable with the depth of their experience and expertise and ability to help us successfully deliver this.” -Barry Rowland, General Manager, Monroe County Electric Power Association
Updated as of January 2021
RuralBand’s FTTH project will span 1,300 miles to deliver high-speed internet and phone service to 100% of its 12,000 members.
- Prince George Electric Cooperative was Virginia’s first electric co-op to connect a FTTH network subscriber. Funding secured as part of Conexon’s CAF II consortium allowed RuralBand to ramp deployment and shorten its timeline by nearly half.
- “The one thing I would tell someone coming into this would be engage Conexon early on in the process. By far, Conexon’s way is the most efficient way to run it (fiber) in your cooperative territory – by far. Without their help, especially in the CAF II auction, we wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing right now. Conexon was really a root cause of all the success we’ve had thus far with our fiber to the home deployment.”-Casey Logan CEO, Prince George Electric Cooperative
Pemiscot-Dunklin’s bold four-year, self-funded, fiber-to-the-home network deployment will span 1,200 miles and equip 6,600 rural Missourians with high-speed Internet, TV and phone service.
- Grew from under 400 subscribers to more than 1,500 in a year.
- "Randy knows electric co-ops and he knows broadband inside and out. Being able to pull from that experience is great. The way he laid out the plan made perfect sense, and with the research and thought behind it, it was a direction we felt we could go in. We’ve been thrilled with Conexon’s help and we are meeting or exceeding every one of our projections.” -Tim Davis, CEO, Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric
OEConnect’s FTTH project will span more than 800 miles bringing gigabit-capable internet and high-quality phone service to its 4,650 homes and businesses across four counties.
- “Conexon has been an integral partner in the whole process. Conexon helped us accumulate all our bidding and financials documentation and submit it to the state of New York and our lender. The availability of the money and the amount of money we were able to win solidified our ability to come into the space., Conexon’s design team has produced a design at each stage, for submission to and approval by the state. They also provided construction management, and went out and found our contractors to get our construction done.” -Tim Johnson, CEO, Otsego Electric Cooperative
ecoLink’s FTTH project will span 5,000 miles of fiber, bringing world-class internet and phone service to 33,440 members.
- With Conexon-engineered federal funding, ecoLINK will produce cash flow in year 1, versus year 9, and eliminate financial subsidizing from the electric side.
- “We knew that Conexon was the company that could help us bring this to reality. They have a proven track record with other cooperatives and a blueprint on how to do this in a way that works in terms of affordability, speed of deployment and sustainability.”-Tim Smith, General Manager, East Central Electric Cooperative
Firefly Fiber’s FTTH network will span 2500 miles to reach 100% of its 37,000 members with high-speed internet and phone service.
- Projected cash flow positive in 2020 – year 2 versus year 7. 1,000 miles of fiber – one-third of the electric system footprint – have been built
- “Clearly Conexon was the pick of the field. It has been and still is the leader in fiber design and FTTH networks amongst electric coops. We talked to a lot of other coops, and part of what separated Conexon was its involvement with all of the co-op projects we could find that had delivered high performance, successfully been built in a relatively compressed schedule, and stayed within a reasonable budget. Conexon is the only consultant I know that has met all of three of those consistently.”-Gary Wood, President & CEO - Central Virginia Electric Cooperative
Callabyte Technology is well on the path to growth, 1,000 miles in to its 2,200-mile fiber-to-the-home journey to serve its 13,000 members with high-speed internet, TV and phone.
- Performing well even in communities with significant competition
- South Central Connect launched in 2018 as one of Conexon’s earliest clients and has connected more than 2,400 members already
Over $20 million in RDOF funding will expand gigabit-capable symmetrical broadband to 100% of the cooperative’s rural Arkansas territory over a 4-year period, as well as surrounding communities where there is a need.
- MidSouth Fiber officially kicked off phase 1 of its network project in late 2019, and today offers high-speed internet with plans to also offer phone and TV service. Customers began receiving service in 3Q 2020 and by November, 500 subscribers were connected.
A 2008 hurricane in Houston was the catalyst that launched MidSouth Electric Cooperative on a multi-year journey culminating in MidSouth Fiber and a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network for the co-op’s 25,000 members.
WAVE Rural Connect’s FTTH project will span 6,600 miles of fiber and offer world-class broadband services – internet. Phone and TV – to its nearly 46,000 members.
- More than doubled customer growth since the end of 2019. Projects doubling rate of construction in 2020, achieving higher take rates as customers roll off competitor contracts.
- “People are leaving rural areas because of the lack of internet service. With access to high-speed internet, our members will be able to work from home. Children will be able to complete homework assignments and people have access to advanced healthcare. Our communities can grow and thrive as businesses gain the connectivity they need to operate. Conexon is playing a big part in our ability to make that happen.”-Al Simpson CEO, Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative Corp
GoSEMO Fiber is building a 2,000-mile fiber network to reach 100% of its 15,917 members, and nearby communities, with high-speed internet, TV and phone services.
- Projected to complete 2,000 of mainline construction by end of 2020 – 18 months ahead of schedule. SEMO Electric squared off – and succeeded against – two of the nation’s largest broadband providers for its first phase. GoSEMO already serves three adjacent communities outside the electric footprint.
- “We have dramatically changed the marketplace, which is what we were after. Southeast Missouri is in a position to grow and thrive economically and our whole area is starting to realize broadband benefits such as higher home values, the availability of online learning, telemedicine and more. Randy and the others at Conexon have helped us do this. They have been very responsive to all my questions and that means a lot to me.” -Sean Vanslyke, CEO -SEMO Electric Cooperative
Thanks to the NEXT FTTH network spanning more than 4,000 miles, making high-speed internet, TV and phone service available to more than 29,000 co-op members by 2024, there are newly imagined opportunities for rural schools and students, struggling communities and small businesses.
- Projected to produce positive margins in year 1 versus original break-even of year 9. Plans to build at least another 800 miles of fiber in 2020, making inroads in all three of its service districts.
- “We want our co-op members to experience the improved quality of life that fiber internet brings. True broadband access helps our students, businesses and communities thrive in today’s competitive world, and we want to be our co-op members’ local source for reliable, affordable internet, TV and phone service.” -Mel Coleman CEO- NAEC
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CarolinaConnect is partnering with Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative and Newberry Electric Cooperative, to build out a 4,150-mile network to reach 100% of the co-ops’ more than 69,000 members with world-class internet.
- Explosive customer growth – more than 9,000 new subscribers in just 27 months
- “Up to this point, we have focused solely on delivering a quality internet service to co-op members and have seen phenomenal customer demand and growth. We’re confident that Conexon will help us launch and operate successfully as we continue to expand our thriving internet business.” -Glenn Martin, CEO, CarolinaConnect
At more than 100,000 members, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation is one of the largest electric cooperatives in the nation to launch FTTH for its members.
- Recently broke the 1,000 sign-up milestone after rolling out a Triple Play offer with internet, phone and TV.
- Cumberland Connect is initially deploying service in its most rural areas where need was the greatest,