Blue Skies Ahead

Save the date for Conexon's Co-ops Connect 2023 workshop

  • Two days of broadband education and strategy with Conexon leaders and more than 40 executives from some of the most successful and diverse electric cooperatives in rural America
  • New topics, new speakers: Everything you want to know about broadband challenges and solutions from the leaders who've been there
  • Small-group networking: Ask questions, share your experiences, leave with proven best practices from co-ops nationwide
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2023 Co-op Connect Workshop Agenda

Pre-Event - Monday, November 6

12:30–5:30 PM Co-ops Connect 2023 Golf Round At TPC Sawgrass Dye’s Valley Course (18 Holes)

6:00–7:30 PM Opening Reception & Workshop Check-In

Day 1 -Tuesday, November 7

8:00–8:15 AM

8:15–9:30 AM - PANEL
Gaining Traction in Competitive Markets: Winning the Battle for Customers

9:30 - 9:45 AM  - Networking Break (panelists available for Q&A)

9:45 - 10:45 AM - PANEL
Correcting the Course: Broadband Lessons From Trial and Error

10:45 - 11:00 AM - Networking Break (panelists available for Q&A)

11:00 - 11:45 AM - PANEL
From the Ground Up: The Fundamentals of Fiber Construction and Design

11:45 - 12:30 PM - PANEL
Smart Grid

12:30 - 1:30 PM - LUNCH

1:30 - 2:45 PM - ROUND TABLES
Construction & Design—Jeff Fincannon & Mike Byrne
Smart Grid—Carl Meyerhoefer
Funding and Grants—Jonathan Chambers
Operations—David Girvan & Andy Burger

2:45 - 3:00 PM - Networking Break (panelists available for Q&A)

3:00 - 4:00 PM - PANEL
Take Rate Triumphs: Targeted Marketing That Gets Results – Fast!

4:00 - 4:30 PM - PANEL
Nurturing Customer Engagement: The Role of Member Services

4:30 - 5:00 PM - PANEL
Skyrocketing Commercial Sales with Small Business and Beyond

5:00 PM - Day 1 Wrap-up and Networking (panelists available for Q&A)

Day 2 -Wednesday, November 8

8:00–8:30 AM - PANEL
Feasibility Studies and Business Planning

8:30 - 9:00 AM - PANEL
Success Is Not One Size Fits All: Choosing the Right Broadband Model for Your Co-op

9:00 - 9:15 AM - Networking Break (panelists available for Q&A)

9:15 - 10:30 AM - PANEL
Leveraging Every Opportunity: The Future of Funding

10:30 - 10:45 PM - Networking Break (panelists available for Q&A)

10:45 - 12:00 PM - ROUND TABLES
Marketing and PR—Cindy Parks & Chesley Vague
Member Services—David Girvan
Commercial Sales—Kip Tibbits & Abby Carere
NOC, Engineering and Call Center—Andy Burger
Regulatory and Compliance—Terie Hannay

12:00 - 12:15 PM - CLOSING REMARKS
(Grab-and-Go Lunch) Putting the Pieces Together for FTTH Success

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Conexon’s Industry-Leading Broadband Event

Fiber-to-the-home solutions leader Conexon brings electric cooperatives together to share rural broadband strategies for success at its annual Co-ops Connect workshop. This two-day event focuses on education and networking with FTTH experts and from some of the most successful and diverse electric co-ops in rural America.

Top 5 Takeaways From Co-ops Connect


1. “If we don’t do it, no one else will.”

  • This has been a refrain of electric co-ops since the 1930s. Even co-ops that had previously not wanted to get into broadband have found it necessary.
  • As one CEO recounted, in their service territory 30 of 100 high school seniors were unable to graduate in 2020 because lack of internet access made it impossible to finish school.

2. “I was told that I’d have to get 60 poles changed the first week, 90 the second week, then get to a pace of 120 per week after that.”

  • This year, our clients will change out nearly 200,000 poles for their broadband projects. The pace of make- ready construction by electric co-ops is unparalleled.
  • If states are looking for ways to spend BEAD funds, Kentucky’s pole replacement program is a good model for other states.

3. “Co-ops can compete against anyone.”

  • Missouri’s United Electric Cooperative has 7,000 members and a populationdensity of less than 2 meters per mile. Yet its broadband subsidiary now has over 26,000 subscribers and is planning to build into St. Joe which has a population of over 70,000.
  • To those who think co-ops’ inherent advantage in broadband is due to their ownership of poles, co-ops, like United Electric, have proven that a co-op’s true competitive advantage is the ethos of service.

4. “I don’t know what smart grid will become, but I know I’ll be in a good position with a fiber network.”

  • Whether it is connectivity to all electric devices, voltage control, or a self-healing grid, smart grid and fiber broadband go hand in hand.
  • Electric co-ops deploying fiber are at the forefront of smart grid experimentation and innovation.

5. “The BEAD program is an excessive amount of funding; states will struggle to spend it all.”

  • The federal government, having committed funding for rural broadband through the CAF, RDOF, ACAM, CARES, and ARPA programs, will allocate BEAD funds to states by the middle of 2023.
  • Once the areas funded by the other programs are removed, the only places most states will be able to spend BEAD are in areas served by cable broadband. Cable will go to war over that.

Past Events

November 2022: Co-ops Connect – San Antonio, TX

Co-ops Connect 2022! Thank you to all who attended! Featuring more than 25 leaders from some of the most successful and diverse co-ops in rural America, Co-ops Connect 2022 is…

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November 2021: Co-ops Connect – Tampa, FL

Co-ops Connect 2021! Thank you to all who attended! Featuring more than 25 leaders from some of the most successful and diverse co-ops in rural America, Co-ops Connect 2021 is…

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February 2020: Rural FTTH Workshop – Austin, TX

Electric Coop Fiber Broadband Workshop: Proven Blueprint to FTTH Success Austin, TX | February 18th & 19th, 2020 Come and learn from 15 of your fellow electric cooperatives about their…

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October 2019: Blueprint of Rural FTTH Success – Atlanta, GA

Electric Coop Fiber Broadband Workshop: Blueprint of Rural FTTH Success Atlanta, GA | October 3rd & 4th, 2019 Were you unable to attend? Request information provided at Workshop. Come and…

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Unable to Attend a Workshop?

Request information from past workshops.