Rural broadband leader brings breadth of capabilities enabling co-op to deliver gigabit-speed internet to its members
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Mar. 17, 2023 – Pahrump, Nevada-based Valley Electric Association has selected rural fiber-optic network design and construction management leader, Conexon, to deliver comprehensive fiber broadband support services for the cooperative’s fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network project. Members will receive service from the co-op’s broadband entity, Valley Communications Association.
Conexon will provide network design, construction project management, engineering, and operations support, enabling Valley Communications to deliver high-speed internet to homes and businesses across Pahrump and the communities of Southern Nye, Esmeralda, and Clark County within Valley Electric’s service territory. The goal is to ultimately expand fiber broadband access to all of Valley Electric’s members, offering fiber to those who do not have access today and eventually replacing the wireless internet service some members currently receive.
Since 2016, Valley Communications and Valley Electric have leveraged a combination of transmission media, including wireless and fiber optics to offer broadband to members. The co-op’s leadership team and board made the decision to invest in a FTTH network for all members because it is considered the gold standard of broadband transmission – reliable, “future-proof” and resilient.
The network will be built over Valley Electric’s existing electric distribution infrastructure using an architecture that enables super-fast and affordable internet services for members. The network will ultimately be available for all members. Those using other broadband means will be transitioned to the FTTH network as construction reaches their area. Construction began in early 2023, with the initial customer connections anticipated to be in fall 2023.
The overall project, spanning 4,300 miles of Valley Electric lines, is anticipated to be complete within three years. The Valley Communications Association fiber-optic network will give members access to symmetrical gigabit internet capabilities. Additionally, it will enable enhancements and smart grid capabilities to Valley Electric’s infrastructure, including improved power outage response times, better load balancing, more efficient electricity delivery, and more.
“We’re excited to continue partnering with Valley Electric and deliver on our mission to bring world-class, high-speed internet to unserved and underserved residents,” Conexon Founding Partner, Randy Klindt, said. “The completion of this project will provide rural Nevada residents with internet capabilities and reliability that rival those in urban areas.”
Conexon brings to the project unmatched experience and expertise in deploying rural FTTH networks. The company has designed more than 200,000 miles of fiber for cooperative projects and builds more than 50,000 miles of fiber annually. In addition, Conexon has created a broad and unmatched ecosystem of equipment and labor resources specializing in rural fiber builds to ensure clients expertise and efficiency for their projects.
Conexon works with Rural Electric Cooperatives to bring fiber to the home in rural communities. The company is comprised of professionals who have worked in electric cooperatives and the telecommunications industry, and offer decades of individual experience in business planning, building networks, marketing and selling telecommunications. Conexon offers its electric cooperative clients end-to-end broadband deployment and operations support, from a project’s conception all the way through to its long-term sustainability. It works with clients to analyze economic feasibility, secure financing, design the network, manage construction, provide operational support, optimize business performance and determine optimal partnerships. To date, Conexon has assisted more than 275 electric cooperatives, 75 of which are deploying fiber networks, with more than 500,000 rural Americans connected to fiber to the home. The company has secured nearly $2 billion in federal, state and local grants and subsidies for its clients.
Valley Electric Association employs about 130 teammates to serve more than 45,000 people across a 6,800-square-mile area in Southwest Nevada. It is headquartered in Pahrump, Nevada. Valley Electric Association operates as a member-owned energy cooperative. This means that each member that receives electricity through our transmission grid is also an owner of VEA. This “member-owner” status provides a voice in how their cooperative operates, and also a responsibility to ensure VEA remains strong and stable. The cooperative model allows member-consumers to democratically elect their leadership, and any member can become part of that leadership team. Currently, VEA boasts 20,100 member-consumers who participate in the governance of the co-op.
Valley Communications Association (VCA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Valley, began providing high-speed communications to member-owners in the spring of 2016 and is dedicated to connecting communities by providing local, affordable, reliable high-speed internet in Pahrump and the communities of Southern Nye, Esmeralda, and Clark County within Valley Electric’s service territory, as well as Goldfield and Tonopah. Dependable, high-speed Internet service is essential to our regional economy – particularly for job growth, education, and telehealth.