Rural broadband visionary and electric cooperative fiber network innovator brings experience, expertise, and record of success to rapidly growing ISP
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Feb. 16, 2022 – Randy Klindt, founding partner of fiber network design and construction management leader Conexon, has been named CEO for Conexon Connect, the company’s internet service provider (ISP) subsidiary. Klindt will also remain in his Conexon partnership role, alongside fellow partner Jonathan Chambers, consulting with electric cooperatives deploying their own fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks.
With over 20 years of hands-on operational leadership experience across three electric cooperatives, Klindt led the initial conception, construction and operations for Co-Mo Connect in Missouri, and OzarksGo in Arkansas. These have grown to become two of the largest electric co-op FTTH projects in the nation. In 2015, Klindt formed Conexon to support rural electric cooperatives across the country with end-to-end FTTH management solutions.
A well-known innovator in the electric cooperative broadband space, Klindt is widely credited with architecting the most cost-efficient fiber-to-the-home design used by electric co-ops today. The design, which leverages a cooperative’s existing infrastructure, created a financially viable path to serve their rural members with world-class broadband at a price point members could afford. Today, Conexon’s mission and methodology are broadly considered the defining standard of the most successful rural electric co-op fiber networks.
“Randy’s experience and expertise in electric co-op fiber projects were significant factors considered by Central Georgia EMC’s board and management team in deciding our partnership with Connect,” said Herschel K. Arant, Jr., P.E., Central Georgia EMC senior vice president of Energy Supply and External Services. “His knowledge of rural fiber builds is extensive and broad, and more importantly, he shares the collective electric cooperative commitment to providing life-changing broadband to rural Americans.”
Connect reflects the natural progression of Conexon, continuing the company’s work in building fiber networks with cooperatives, now serving as its own network operator. Launched in early 2021, Connect is rapidly expanding its footprint, currently working with multiple electric cooperative partners across Colorado, Georgia, and Missouri. Together with these first cooperative partners, Conexon Connect is building approximately 35,000 collective miles of fiber to deliver fiber broadband access to nearly 265,000 rural homes and businesses. The company expects to make additional partnership announcements throughout 2022.
“Conexon was formed six years ago with the purpose of helping rural cooperatives fulfill their mission of improving lives and communities through bringing critically needed high-speed internet to members,” Klindt said. “Today, our purpose is unchanged. Connect represents the next evolution of our businesses, offering a different partnership model for co-ops that enables them to focus on their core business while relying on us to serve their members with world-class broadband. “
Together with clients, Conexon has designed more than 200,000 miles of fiber, builds more than 50,000 miles per year, and has connected more than 500,000 rural Americans to fiber to the home.
“There’s an old saying: ‘He who does not know one thing, knows another.’ It’s a reference to collective wisdom, and also a comment about our own limitations and the necessity of learning from others. I have learned more about rural broadband from Randy Klindt than I have from anyone in my 30 years of involvement in the internet business,” Conexon Partner Jonathan Chambers said. “The move Randy and I are announcing today reflects our judgment that rural America is at an inflection point regarding access to rural broadband. When we established the Connect business, we believed it was important to demonstrate that it was possible to build fiber broadband to all rural homes in the country, and that we were prepared to put our money into that proposition.
“Randy built and operated the first complete electric co-op fiber business in the country, and then the next, and then the next. At Conexon, we have learned and taught, and learned and taught. We have drawn from our own experiences and those of our clients. When we tell any cooperative that is considering a broadband business, ‘This is what we would do,’ we mean it. That’s the essence of the Connect business and our announcement today.”
Conexon Connect is the internet service provider (ISP) arm of rural fiber broadband design and construction management leader Conexon. The subsidiary was formed to operate and manage cooperative and investor-owned fiber-to-the-home networks. Connect leverages Conexon’s decades of co-op operations, fiber-optic design and construction, telecommunications, federal and state lobbying and customer experience management expertise to successfully launch and operate projects. The Connect approach is to work with electric cooperatives to launch and deploy high-speed fiber-optic networks – the gold standard of communications transmission – enabling them to offer world-class fiber broadband to 100% of their members.