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
35,600 85,526 41% 5,350 150+

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.

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  • 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
31,391 45,000 37% 3,400 250

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.

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  • 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
27,250 26,000 70% 3,875 100

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.

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

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  • 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
24,672 7,500 54% 3,296 675

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
18,418 89,862 33% 3,340 800

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.

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  • 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
16,568 48,000 43% 3,950 165

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 48,000 members.

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  • 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
16,000 37,000 60% 3,394 200

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.

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  • 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

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  • "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
15,307 41,154 54% 2,161 21
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Members: 30,000<p>
Miles of Fiber: 24,000<\a>
Subscribers: 13,000

Pioneering Bolt Fiber’s 2,155-mile FTTH project offers high-speed internet, TV and phone services for Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative’s 40,375 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
12,608 45,026 35% 2,725 180
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.

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  • “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
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.

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  • 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
10,919 35,962 48% 4,082 100

ecoLink’s FTTH project will span 5,000 miles of fiber, bringing world-class internet and phone service to 35,962 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.

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  • “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
10,600 74,189 30% 2,710 160

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.

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  • 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

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  • "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
10,130 30,087 34% 3,077 135

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 29,571 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
8,400 4,561 40% 1,750 150

Callabyte Technology is well on the path to growth, 1,700 miles in to its 2,200-mile fiber-to-the-home journey to serve its 4,223 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
8,100 25,500 31% 1,462 45

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
8,000 12,000 65% 2,000 50

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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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
5,200 15,000 34% 1,650 70

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.

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  • 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.

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  • “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
5,006 8,967 31% 1,580 50

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
4,801 10,065 53% 1,129 12

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
5,950 37,041 40% 2,508 100

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.

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  • “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
4,068 10,800 41% 865 75

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.

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  • "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
4,000 11,800 45% 1,130 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
3,954 18,000+ 39% 1,637 90-100
CVEC-RGB-nomotto

Canadian Valley Electric Cooperative is at work on a 4,100-mile fiber network to reach over 18,000 members in the 10 central Oklahoma counties it serves.

milestone

  • The Canadian Valley territory is named for its location bounded on the north by the Deep Fork of the North Canadian River and on the south by the South Canadian River.

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  • CVEC Fiber was formed to fulfill the CVEC mission statement “Improve Life, Serve Community” by providing fast, reliable fiber internet to all members and businesses within the co-op’s footprint.
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Week
3,928 12,000+ 45% 1,467 24

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.

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  • “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
3,931 23,212 38% 1,528 80

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/Week
3,630 18,000 34 825 80

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
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.

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  • "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
3,250 6,600 49% 1,025 20

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/Month
2,374 28,450 41% 1,112 118/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
2,606 18,260 30% 1003 60

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 18,260 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.
Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Month
2,106 14,698 40% 973 75/week

Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative is changing rural life in eastern Oklahoma with a 2,500-mile FTTH network to bring super-fast internet to 18,000 homes and businesses over the three-year build.

Cookson Hills members were active advocates for broadband from the beginning. The cooperative received messages and phone calls on a daily basis from members, local businesses, and community groups all expressing the vital need for high-speed internet.

 

  • quote“The power of broadband to transform lives has become word of mouth across the nation and it’s catching fire. People are looking to us to be that provider.” Juli Orme, General Manager, Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative

 

Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Month
1,837 52,000 46.5% 1,227 95/week

Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association in south central Mississippi pivoted from no interest in a broadband project to the formation of its fiber subsidiary, PearlComm Fiber, in less than one year.

PearlComm’s FTTH network will span 4,700 miles to reach 100% of the 51,000 members in the EPA’s 12-county service territory. The $100 million project is expected to be completed within five years.

 

  • quote“We will be able to leverage our cooperative’s strengths into a company people are interested in signing up with. If we are successful in mirroring our electric cooperative’s quality of customer service, our broadband service will be second to none.” Matthew Ware, General Manager, Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association

 

Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Month
1,439 59,487 48% 1,000 75/week
Singing-River-Connect

Singing River Connect is making waves with super-fast fiber internet for the neatly 80,000 homes and businesses served by the electric co-op. Upon completion, the FTTH network will span 7,669 miles across nine counties in two states!

Many areas served by Singing River Electric Cooperative have little or no internet access. Some areas also lack phone service. Singing River Connect fiber internet will power local communities while providing fiber-fast internet access.

Members are thrilled and grateful for what's coming, and take rates are already soaring at nearly %50. The $150 million network is expected to be completed within six years to reach 100% of Singing River Electric members.

Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Month
1,126 18,826 26% 952 40/week

Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative’s footprint extends outside of Arkansas into Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, resulting in the unique name of its fiber subsidiary: Four States Fiber.

The 5,000-mile network will reach 100% of membership plus several adjacent unserved areas. The $150 million project is expected to be completed in 5-6 years.

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Density averages just 4.5 customers per mile, and initial feasibility studies showed a broadband project wouldn’t be profitable until year 15. An RDOF funding award of $53.6 million changed the break-even point to year one.

Co-op Subscribers Members Take Rate Miles Built Installs/Month
1,055 14,000 33% 1,100 35/week

Petit Jean Electric Cooperative in the heart of Arkansas’s Ozark Mountains is bringing high-speed fiber internet and HD-quality phone to its 14,000 members with a 2,500-mile FTTH network.

“Don’t let the numbers scare you. I spent 20 years living, sleeping and breathing electric distribution, and now we’ve started an internet business. We’ve served our membership with reliable electricity for 80 years and now it’s time to serve them the next generation of utility. Conexon is making sure we are ready to succeed. You don’t have to do it alone.” - Michael Kirkland, CEO, Petit Jean Electric Cooperative

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The RDOF auction was a game changer for Petit Jean: The co-op’s $29 million award took its project from projected profitability in 20 years to profitability in two years!

 

Updated as of November 2022

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