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!

Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
33,238 84,257 40% 5,000 150+

OzarksGo is blazing a trail across Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma, encompassing 5,000 miles of fiber to serve 100% of its 84,257 members and other communities with TV, phone and internet.

handshake

  • OzarksGo built out of territory to provide Stilwell with high-speed internet, helping keep businesses in the area.

Profit

  • 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-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
27,246 60,000 37% 3,380 260

OEC Fiber’s project will span more than 3,380 miles of fiber to serve 100% of its 60,000 members—as well as surrounding communities— with high-speed internet, TV and phone.

milestone

  • 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.

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  • “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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
25,250 26,000 64% 3,820 110

Co-Mo Connect’s FTTH project spans more than 3,500 miles to serve 100% of its 32,000 members—as well as surrounding communities— with world-class broadband services.

ten

  • Celebrating a decade of offering triple play – internet, TV, phone – to 100% of members

first

  • The nation’s first co-op to build out an FTTH network to 100% of its membership without federal grants or subsidies.
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Month
21,790 7,500 53% 3,150 635

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.

Profit

  • Profitable broadband subsidiary helping subsidize the electric side

Quote

  • "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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
14,687 107,644 33% 2,800 230

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.

milestone

  • Recently broke the 1,000 sign-up milestone after rolling out a Triple Play offer with internet, phone and TV.

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  • Cumberland Connect is initially deploying service in its most rural areas where need was the greatest.
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
14,680 33,034 46% 2,151 21
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Members: 30,000<p>
Miles of Fiber: 24,000<\a>
Subscribers: 13,000

Pioneering Bolt Fiber’s 2,151-mile FTTH project offers high-speed internet, TV and phone services for Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative’s 33,034 members and surrounding communities.

milestone

  • Strong demand from out-of-territory residents – making up 10% of subscribers

Quote

  • “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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
13,400 46,000 36% 3,200 165

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.

milestone

  • 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.

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  • “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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
12,393 37,000 60% 2,677 130

Firefly Fiber’s FTTH network will span 2,500 miles to reach 100% of its 37,000 members with high-speed internet and phone service.

milestone

  • 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

Quote

  • "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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
11,800 29,000 33% 3,200 100

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.

milestone

  • 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.

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  • “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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
8,826 45,026 37% 1,798 180
Tombigbee Fiber

Installing community hotspots in unserved areas throughout cooperative territory to offer free public WiFi for residents.

milestone

  • One of the first electric power associations in Mississippi to move to fiber to the home, Tombigbee Fiber is planning a 3,000-mile build to offer service to 100% of its 43,980 members.

Quote

  • “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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
8,259 33,440 46% 3,600 75-100

ecoLink’s FTTH project will span 5,000 miles of fiber, bringing world-class internet and phone service to 33,440 members.

milestone

  • With Conexon-engineered federal funding, ecoLINK will produce cash flow in year 1, versus year 9, and eliminate financial subsidizing from the electric side.

Quote

  • “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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
7,974 28,424 28% 2,364 185

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 28,424 members.

milestone

  • 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.
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
7,757 4,123 33% 1,354 60-100 average

Callabyte Technology is well on the path to growth, 1,354 miles in to its 2,200-mile fiber-to-the-home journey to serve its 4,123 members with high-speed internet, TV and phone.

milestone

  • Performing well even in communities with significant competition
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
7,571 12,000 63% 2,000 120

GoSEMO Fiber is building a 2,000-mile fiber network to reach 100% of its 12,000 members, and nearby communities, with high-speed internet, TV and phone services.

milestone

  • Projected to complete 2,000 miles 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.

Quote

  • 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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
7,200 25,500 30% 1,405 60

The NE Sparc (North East Mississippi Electric Power Association) fiber-to-the-home network will span 1,600 miles and serve more than 25,000 Mississippi homes and businesses with high-speed internet and quality voice services.

milestone

  • Overcoming weather delays and other obstacles, the co-op has built nearly 500 miles of fiber in 2020, serving four substations.

Profit

  • 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.
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
6,910 73,000 30% 1,990 140

CoastConnect is offering gigabit-symmetrical fiber Internet with no data caps for a lower monthly price than region’s existing 200 Mbps service with data limits.

milestone

  • CARES Act funding fast-tracks Mississippi cooperative’s 4,000-mile build to bring broadband Internet and phone to 73,000 members, with first customers connected in less than 5 months

Quote

  • "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
    Power Association
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
4,346 10,036 51% 1,127 20

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

milestone

  • Installed it's 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

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  • “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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
4,214 7,989 40% 1,348 45

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.

milestone

  • South Central Connect launched in 2018 as one of Conexon’s earliest clients and has connected more than 2,400 members already
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
4,000 15,000 27% 1,650 90

Tri-County Electric Cooperative in South Carolina is building an expansive 1,700-mile, $50 million FTTH network to bring gigabit-speed internet and reliable voice service to its 15,000 homes and businesses.

milestone

  • The co-op doesn’t plan to leave neighboring rural communities behind either: Its fiber entity, TriCoLink, intends to expand to reach unserved small towns that fall outside its service territory as well.

Quote

  • “I understand it’s not financially feasible for other providers to serve communities with very small populations that historically have been left behind. But that’s why we’re here and that’s the nature of a co-op. We operate in a different way, and it’s our job to do what others can’t or won’t do.” – Chad Lowder, CEO, Tri-County Electric Cooperative
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
3,600 37,041 35% 1,506 50/week

East Mississippi Connect has launched a $100 million project to bring broadband services to the co-op’s 37,041 customers in rural Mississippi.

EMEPA’s membership has been outspoken about the need for broadband: a member-created Facebook page has 4,600 followers, and the co-op received 1,400 individual emails in response to a request for feedback.

Quote

  • “The emails we received told stories of kids who can’t do homework at home; grandparents who can’t use video chatting; cell phones that don’t work because there is no service in the area; people who try but can’t do telemedicine; people who need to work from home but can’t. All the emails stressed how much people need access to high-speed internet and phone services.” – Randy Carroll, CEO, East Mississippi Electric Power Association
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
3,254 4,408 73% 736 5

OEConnect’s FTTH project will span more than 800 miles bringing gigabit-capable internet and high-quality phone service to its 4,408 homes and businesses across four counties.

Quote

  • "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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
3,313 10,800 40% 840 60/week

Leveraging $4.2 million in CARES Act funding to connect members in unserved and underserved communities first.

milestone

  • M-Pulse is already connecting residential customers with fiber network spanning 1,500 miles and serving 100% of it's 10,800 members with Internet and phone within 3 years.

Quote

  • "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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
3,246 12,000+ 38% 1,014 50

RuralBand’s FTTH project will span 1,300 miles to deliver high-speed internet and phone service to 100% of its 12,000 members.

milestone

  • 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.

Quote

  • “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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
2,937 6,600 65% 950+ 25/week

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.

milestone

  • Grew from under 400 subscribers to more than 1,500 in a year.

Quote

  • "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
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
2,300 11,800 43% 688 60-80/week

Natchez Trace EPA began construction of it's fiber network in rural Mississippi in the wake of the pandemic, receiving $4.3 million in total funding in August 2020 for a pilot project in Webster County. Since then, fiber subsidiary NT Spark has built over 200 miles of fiber and has connected 1,000 members to fiber internet service.

milestone

  • The NT Spark pilot project is part of a collective effort with other electric cooperatives in Mississippi that leveraged CARES Act funding to build a total of over 2,000 miles of fiber that reaches over 40,000 rural Mississippians.

 

  • The Natchez Trace EPA territory is primarily agriculture-focused with sweet potatoes as the key crop.
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
1,962 23,212 29% 1,125 62

Central Rural Electric Cooperative in Oklahoma has recognized the need for increased system reliability and support connectivity for over 10 years, but efforts never reached everyone – until the COVID-19 pandemic. Surveying its members showed 97% of participants approved of moving forward with fiber.

milestone

  • Over 18,000 Oklahoma residents and businesses will benefit from the 4,500-mile project from Central Rural Electric Cooperative’s fiber subsidiary, Centranet.

 

  • In the service territory, an estimated 40% of students lack access to high-speed internet, with some students lacking internet access altogether. Centranet fiber broadband is poised to change the learning experience for students throughout the region.
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Month
1,492 28,450 28% 905 118/week

In 2020, building a fiber-to-the-home network became possible when Delta Electric Power Association in Mississippi was awarded $4.9 million in matching funds for a broadband pilot. With this $9.8 million budget, over 400 miles of fiber have been built, connecting approximately 1,000 customers in their pilot project.

Construction of the DE LightSpeed fiber network began in September 2020 and the first customer was connected by Thanksgiving – less than three months later! The total pilot project was completed within 6 months.

handshakeDE LightSpeed is now expanding its FTTH network to additional areas of Delta Electric’s service territory in five counties over the next five years.

Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
1,000 18,000 33 525 85

Kosciusko Rural Electric Membership Corporation (KREMC) has many rural members with no access to high-speed internet – or any internet at all. One local school system even repurposed school buses into mobile hotspots so that students could park nearby to complete online learning during the pandemic.

milestone

  • Construction of Kosciusko Connect’s 1,086-mile fiber-to-the-home network began in early 2021, and it is projected to reach all 18,000 of KREMC’s members within the next two years.

 

  • quote
      "We knew we wanted to offer high-speed internet to our members before the pandemic hit, but it highlighted the urgency of our project. Many of our members did not have internet service that could support working or learning from home, and we are motivated to make sure that is never an obstacle for them again.” - Kurt Carver, President and CEO of Kosciusko Rural Electric Membership Corporation
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
635 18,074 34% 334 50/week

Tri-County EMC in Georgia received $1.1 million in RDOF funding, allowing the co-op to kick off it's broadband project. The project has grown to serve 18,000 members with 1,600 miles of fiber upon completion

milestone

  • After announcing it's FTTH project to members on a Friday, over 800 members had pre-registered for service by that Sunday,

 

  • Tri-County EMC’s membership is 90% residential, but the territory varies greatly both geographically and socioeconomically.

 

Updated as of April 2022

Electric cooperatives are added to Conexon's Co-op Broadband Milestones page when they have connected 500 subscribers.