Co-ops Connect Podcast

Co-ops Connect is Conexon's podcast hosted by SVP of Marketing, Sales and Account Management, Abby Carere, bringing you heartfelt stories from Rural Electric Cooperatives deploying high-speed fiber internet networks to their service territories. We sit down with co-op leaders who are tackling head-on the rewards and challenges of bridging the Digital Divide in rural America, one mile of fiber at a time.

Conexon is proud to be at the forefront of the electric cooperative fiber broadband movement, partnering with co-ops across the country to transform communities with world-class fiber internet. Our values align with the cooperative principles of sharing resources and working together to improve services and lives of the members served by our co-ops.

No matter where your cooperative is in its fiber broadband journey, there are valuable lessons to learn from the co-ops who have blazed the trail before you. Listen and learn more about how your electric co-op can build a brighter, more connected future for your community with fiber to the home.

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Funding for broadband networks is a critical component of connecting rural America to high-speed fiber internet. This week, guest host Jonathan Chambers, Conexon Partner, and special guest Gary Wood, President/CEO of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative and Firefly Fiber, join Abby Carere, Conexon's SVP of Sales, Marketing, and Account Management, to dive deeper into all things funding. They discuss the programs Firefly Fiber took advantage of and how Conexon helped secure funding to make the project feasible.

Published May 11th, 2022.

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The need for fiber broadband services was one that Central Georgia EMC was well aware of for many years. After two years of conversations with eight different broadband entities, Conexon Connect turned Central Georgia's dream of broadband to a reality with members beginning to connect to its service less than a year after the project announcement. Tune in as Conexon's SVP of Sales, Marketing and Account Management, Abby Carere, speaks with Central Georgia EMC's SVP of Energy Supply and External Services, Herschel Arant, to reflect on Conexon Connect's first partnership, Connect, powered by Central Georgia EMC.

Published April 12th, 2022.

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When it comes to building a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network, everyone has a story that needs to be heard. GoSEMO Fiber, subsidiary of SEMO Electric Cooperative in Missouri, began its fiber network project in 2017 and has built nearly 2,000 miles of fiber, with over 7,000 connected subscribers. Sean Vanslyke, SEMO Electric CEO/General Manager, and Loyd Rice, SEMO Electric Cooperative's Manager of Fiber Services, sat down with Conexon's SVP of Sales, Marketing, and Account Management, Abby Carere, at the Co-ops Connect workshop to discuss how they've seen the workshop grow and the power of the true co-op spirit in forming relationships and sharing learnings.

Published March 4th, 2022.

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After starting its fiber-to-the-home broadband project in 2018, Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative and its fiber subsidiary, WAVE Rural Connect, dove head-first into the project to start connecting members that next year. Today, Wave has more than 10,000 subscribers. Arkansas Valley's Barret Ewing and Brandon Fischer join Conexon SVP of Sales, Marketing, and Account Management, Abby Carere, at the recent Co-ops Connect in Tampa to reflect on past workshops and discuss how Wave has achieved significant customer milestones.

Published February 11th, 2022.

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In 2017, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative formed OEC Fiber to move full speed ahead with a fiber network build to bring high-speed internet to members. As one of Conexon's earliest clients, the OEC Fiber team has seen the growth of the electric co-op broadband movement, and more and more co-ops taking advantage of Conexon's industry-leading Co-ops Connect Workshops. OEC's CEO, Patrick Grace, joins Conexon's SVP of Sales, Marketing, and Account Management, Abby Carere, at Co-ops Connect 2021 to talk about OEC Fiber's journey to more than 20,000 connected subscribers and the power of cooperative spirit.

Published January 26th, 2022.

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Washington EMC management waited and hoped for a provider to serve its rural Georgia residents with critical high-speed internet, but it became apparent that no one would. The EMC stepped up to deliver this life-changing service. Washington EMC's President and CEO, Wendy Sellers joins Conexon's SVP of Sales, Marketing, and Account Management, Abby Carere, to discuss how attendance at another EMC's broadband meeting led Washington EMC to partner with Conexon Connect to bring service to its members.

Published January 10th, 2022.

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Broadband connectivity was a longstanding topic of discussion for Coast EPA and its fellow cooperatives in Mississippi. After going back and forth on the idea of bringing fiber internet to its members and conducting three feasibility studies, the Coast project kicked into gear when COVID-19 hit and the demand spiked. Abby Carere, Conexon's SVP of Sales, Marketing, and Account Management, caught up with Coast EPA President and CEO Ron Barnes at Co-ops Connect 2021 for a look back at the Coast fiber-to-the-home network journey.

Published December 7th, 2021.

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After initially tabling the idea of bringing fiber broadband services to members, Osage Valley Electric Cooperative had a change of heart when leaders heard Conexon Founding Partner Randy Klindt speak about potential RDOF opportunities for the co-op's service territory. Jarrod Campbell, CEO of Osage Valley Electric Cooperative, sits down with Abby Carere, Conexon's SVP of Sales, Marketing, and Account Management, to reflect on how Conexon's feasibility study and change in business strategy during the RDOF auction allowed Osage Valley Electric in partnership with Conexon to hit the ground running with its fiber project.

Published November 2nd, 2021.

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The power of the cooperative spirit has never been more evident than when East Mississippi Electric Power Association staff, members, and partners joined forces to leverage the power of Mississippi CARES Act federal funding to bring broadband to its 37,000 members. CEO Randy Carroll joins Abby Carere, Conexon's SVP of Sales, Marketing, and Account Management, to discuss how the co-op worked together to pull off the aggressive project timeline and started connecting the first customers after just 4 months.

Published October 6th, 2021.

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When it came to launching East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative's fiber services, CEO Tim Smith learned early on there's no such thing as overcommunication. His cooperative formed a task force that became fiber subsidiary ecoLINK's biggest champion, spreading its benefits by word of mouth like wildfire. Smith sits down with Conexon's SVP of Sales, Marketing and Account Management, Abby Carere, to share his communications strategies for early success and plans for the future.

Published September 7th, 2021.

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After searching for the right internet solution for co-op members since Hurricane Ike in 2008, Mid-South Electric Co-op in Texas tested fiber internet in 2018 and immediately recognized its potential for the service area. Conexon’s SVP of Sales, Marketing and Account Management, Abby Carere, talks with Mid-South CEO Kerry Kelton about how the co-op turned a pilot project into a three-year build within six months of starting to plan based on member demand.

Published July 28th, 2021.

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Before smart grid technology, Arkansas' South Central Electric Cooperative staff spent hours every month visiting meters and manually reading data. South Central Connect CEO Colby Wells speaks with Conexon's SVP of Sales, Marketing and Account Management, Abby Carere, about how the co-op has evolved and streamlined daily operatives after implementing smart grid development.

Published July 7th, 2021.

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The feasibility challenges identified for Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric Cooperative’s fiber-to-the-home network stacked up: a density of just 5 meters per mile and existing electric infrastructure that is 100% underground meant a build of 5-7 years. Conexon’s Abby Carere talks to Pemiscot-Dunklin Fiber General Manager Jack Davis about how TAP architecture and take rates that are beating all the models have changed the story for the Missouri co-op.

Published June 3rd, 2021.

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