CONNECT RURAL AMERICA
READ ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF THESE CO-OPS WITH THEIR FIBER ROLLOUTS:
In the 1930s, the country embarked on a great endeavor to bring electricity to rural America. Rural Electric Cooperatives have been serving our communities for eighty years. Our clients are embarking on the next great endeavor, bringing fiber optic internet access to rural America. The difference between the 1930s and now is not the cost to build networks, nor the technical know-how — it is the will to do so. We believe in rural America. We believe rural Americans deserve the same opportunities as the rest of the country. We believe Americans can still build things. Join the movement to Connect Rural America to true broadband access to the internet.
We’re happy with what Conexon’s marketing team is doing for us
“We had a gap here that needed to be filled for us to move into this industry, and the Conexon team has definitely filled that role and put this project on track to be successful. Thanks for everything that you’ve done to get us this far!”
For Cookson Hills’ board and employees, broadband is not a new concept.
However, learning to build a broadband program from the ground up is a new concept. Conexon has proven to us that its marketing team has experience and expertise that our team can draw from. Instead of jumping in head first, we are utilizing this opportunity to learn from Conexon’s team, which will help us become more knowledgeable in this field. This collaboration will also allow us to become stronger to better assist our future customers when they need us the most.
We are excited to utilize the Conexon Marketing Hub to access communication materials that will promote our fiber project and the CoastConnect brand
Although we have a talented communications team, the Hub will help us save valuable time by accessing customizable fiber videos, bill inserts, graphics, social media campaigns and more with the click of a mouse. This allows us to focus on strategy and other elements of the project without spending hours to create these tactical marketing materials internally.
From day 1, marketing a fiber network takes consistent and frequent communications with creative campaigns that appeal to your members.
“Conexon’s Marketing Hub really simplifies that for anyone getting into the business, offering all the materials a co-op needs to communicate and market. This is an invaluable tool I wish I’d had when we launched 10 years ago. Even today well into our deployment, the materials are extremely useful and relevant.”
Over the years I’ve worked with electric cooperatives, I’ve consistently seen a lack of affordable, effective resources to help them market fiber networks to their members.
Conexon’s turnkey marketing services answer that with a rich portfolio of customizable creative campaigns for every stage of a build, and an expert support resource, all priced to fit well within co-op marketing budgets.”
Conexon’s Call Center has proven to be a very valuable extension of our team
“Conexon treats our subscribers like we expect in the cooperative world. We have high expectations. Our first attempt with another call center didn’t work so we switched to Conexon. Our partnership will help us grow and retain our existing subscribers.”
“We knew when we started the FTTH project, we didn’t have the personnel or expertise needed to support our members”
“Finding a partner who would treat our members with the same level of service they’ve come to expect from the electric side was the top priority. It was no secret that Conexon had the technical expertise and history of building first-class FTTH projects, and the team there has proven itself able to treat our members as its own.”
Offering voice is a tangled morass of deadlines and form preparation, let alone the direct costs of compliance.
The regulatory burden (of offering voice) should not be underestimated and it takes quite a bit of time and effort to comply with all of the filing requirements. Terie is a critical source of information and advice. We’re just glad we found you, Terie!”
Conexon Connect’s regulatory experience, engineering expertise, and purchasing power made it the logical choice for our voice telecom service.
We desired a partner that not only could handle all of the technical details to get our service up and running quickly and easily, but would also be there with us for the long term.”
If done right voice will be a very profitable additional service.
In my 12 years of supporting voice services with cooperative partners, I have seen various missteps. The Conexon Connect VoIP service offering eliminates the potential for errors. With our full-service offering we not only provide the service but the training and ongoing support to ensure success.
Part of the expertise Conexon brings to our project is in providing voice service…
… a requirement for securing funds from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. Experience and expertise in voice was very important to us because the phone side of this business is a whole different world. We have every confidence that Conexon, as our phone provider of record, will ensure a quality service for members, and effectively manage the taxation and regulatory complexities of offering voice.
Jonathan Chambers and the team knew how the auction works…
which meant we didn’t have to worry about the mechanics of the auction or learn all of the aspects of it.
CAF II Award: $22M
Conexon was instrumental in developing and implementing a successful strategy…
that helped us secure funding through the CAF II auction process. Not only does this support enable us to hit key financial targets, we can now reach new markets and customers while doing our part to help close the rural/urban digital divide that exists in our country. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Conexon in the upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity Fund in 2020!
CAF II Award: $5.2M
The $20 million we were awarded has made a huge difference in our buildout…
giving us the opportunity to build out our high-cost areas. We would have struggled to do so without it.
CAF II Award: $20M
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 Cooperative Consortium and Conexon. Working together provided United with the expertise to successfully navigate the auction and win over $20 million. This money will change lives in northwest Missouri!
CAF II Award: $20M
Ultimately Conexon hit a home run in designing our bids.
Jon explained to us the advantages of being a rural co-op and pole owner. He was an expert in where the funding was and how it would be distributed. His experience was invaluable.
NY & CAF II Awards: $14M
The ReConnect funding will move up our break-even point…
for Forked Deer and allow us to shave nearly a year off the original three-year deployment. Conexon has been an invaluable partner in funding support. The ReConnect grant creates a totally new financial picture for us and allows us to serve all our members faster than we had anticipated.
ReConnect Grant: $2.85M
That before and after review demonstrated what the auction meant to our co-op.
The results of the CAF II award mean we will not be subsidizing the build-out from the electric side, which is important for us. We had no idea of the magnitude of the auction, but Conexon did and that’s part of the value they bring to a partnership.
CAF II Award: $22.5M
The CAF II funding had a significant cash flow impact.
It means less borrowing for the project, which is helpful for the cooperative from an equity perspective.
CAF II Award: $4.7M
The CAF money changed our economic picture significantly.
Having that revenue guaranteed for the first 10 years gives us the breathing room to work through growing pains. The biggest benefit is that it offsets the losses in first few years when otherwise we would be building significant debt to the co-op.
CAF II Award: $28.6M
ReConnect Award: $28M
I was ecstatic after the auction. Thanks to Conexon, we were extremely successful.
The CAF II funding has allowed us to expand our service to meet the needs of additional areas that otherwise would be underserved or unserved. And although we were always on target for a successful ROI, our timelines for that are shortened considerably with the CAF II funds.
CAF II Award: $22M
The availability of affordable, high-quality internet service has the power to changes lives and communities…
especially in rural areas that have been left behind by other providers. Thanks in part to Conexon’s expertise, we now have the funding and operational support to deliver broadband to our communities in a way that is financially viable and benefits our electric side as well.
CAF II Award: $22.6M
Jonathan and Randy were instrumental in working with our team to get that funding for our project…
and it changed our financials dramatically. The $22.6 million gives us some breathing room. It helps our broadband subsidiary become profitable so much quicker, moving up our break-even point and positive cash flow.
CAF II Award $22.6M
The regulatory support of Jonathan and the team in Washington has been invaluable.
Having someone help you understand what funds and areas are available and making sure you don’t leave available money on the table is a huge benefit.
CAF II Award: $23M
As a co-op, we’re committed to ensuring our members and communities have access
to all of the societal, education and economic benefits that world-class broadband delivers, backed by our cooperative commitment to make lives better. Conexon’s expertise and support have made a tremendous difference in our ability to do that. Randy and Jonathan have been valuable partners and instrumental to our success.
CAF II Award: $23M
Conexon was able to walk us through the application process and manage all the milestones
Without the help of Conexon and its experienced staff, PGEC Enterprises, LLC would not have had the opportunity to provide highspeed FTTH internet access to the members of our, currently non served, communities. Conexon was able to walk us through the application process and manage all the milestones for our cooperative. It took close to 20 years to full deploy electricity to our communities nearly 80 years ago. However, with the 15.4M of CAF II funding we have received, we will be able to provide FTTH services to these same locations in only a few years.
United Fiber won a significant amount in the CAF II auction
This was made possible by hard work, strategy and choosing the right partners. United would not have been successful without the help of the Rural Electric Consortium and Conexon. Working together provided United with the expertise to successfully navigate the action and win over $20 million. This money will change lives in northwest Missouri!” CAF II Award- $20.1 M
Electric co-ops are often dependent on third-party call centers
Electric co-ops are often dependent on third-party call centers that don’t understand the nature of their business, and often can’t go beyond answering a call. We have a staff of veteran engineers who have built fiber networks and call centers for over a decade and possess the specific expertise for efficient resolution, while maintaining the highest level of customer satisfaction.
We listened to our electric cooperative clients
We listened to our electric cooperative clients and realized the need for a call center capable of handling calls quickly the first time. Traditional call centers are set up to support multiple technologies, which limits their expertise and ability to truly understand the specific nuances of fiber. We work only with electric cooperatives building fiber-to-the-home, which allows us to understand exactly what you need.
We’re doing things at a very fast pace and Conexon has been our boots on the street
We’re doing things at a very fast pace and Conexon has been our boots on the street, managing our network, construction and overseeing the many moving parts on a daily basis. They have been involved in preparing RFPs, coordinating our contractor and vendor selection and they’ve been out in the field with our contractors as we’re building out, verifying the completion and quality of work.
Having that revenue guaranteed for the first 10 years gives us the breathing room to work through growing pains.
“The biggest benefit is that it offsets the losses in first few years when otherwise, we would be building significant debt to the co-op.”
CAF II Award — $28.6M
It started off very unwillingly…
I was very skeptical, at times outspokenly so, that broadband was not something electric cooperatives should be doing. Obviously, those thoughts and comments look foolish today as we deploy fiber-to-the-home ourselves. My opinion changed as I became more educated and several main assumptions about cooperative broadband projects proved inaccurate. It also began when Jonathan Chambers with Conexon presented to Oklahoma statewide in February 2017. Not only did he dispel some myths regarding the main challenges in getting into broadband, but it was also clear that Conexon could provide the expertise needed to make it happen. Fast forward a few years with our launch and Conexon has been with us at every step. Without Conexon, we would not have a fiber-to-the-home project
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 shared the feasibility plan with our Board,” says Tim Davis, “and the rest is history. I have a lot of respect for Jonathan Chambers. He’s an ethical guy and we put a lot of stock in what he said.”
Within 30 minutes of meeting Randy…
“Trust,” he said. “Within 30 minutes of meeting Randy, I knew Conexon was the right company. They brought experience and knowledge, but also respect, compassion, and understanding of exactly what we were facing. With Randy and the team, I knew I was sitting across the table from someone who had actually been where I was. I couldn’t have found a better partner.”
We’re a small co-op with limited resources.
Our Conexon project manager takes a huge load off of us, doing everything from working with contractors and vendors, to doing ride-outs, pulling permits and a lot more. We always have someone there when we have questions and we can get answers right away. I don’t know how we could have done this without Conexon.
Conexon basically auto-designed our entire system in 3 days.
This allows us to now very quickly deploy wherever we want because we’ve eliminated that step. The benefits of the auto-design – saving us time, energy and effort – makes us go so much faster now.”
We were still trying to figure out the best way…
… to get to where we wanted to go,” Wood recalls, “when at a CEO conference, Jonathan Chambers gave a talk about Conexon, its co-op experience and its approach to fiber. We decided to take one more look at whether a fiber buildout was feasible on our system.”
That “one more look” led to a feasibility study delivered by Conexon that ultimately brought CVEC’s broadband efforts full circle – the decision to serve members with its own high-speed data network.
If you’re getting questions about broadband from members or your board…
“Get a study,” he advises other cooperative leaders. “Broadband isn’t for every company, but you can’t answer the question of ‘why or why not’ without that feasibility study.
Conexon has been able to have a hand in everything…
“Conexon has been able to have a hand in everything and that support allowed us to jump in and out of tasks and react very quickly,” said Goodspeed, “At every step, they were there saying, ‘this is what we think you should do.’ We had our lifeline in Conexon, with availability and accessibility, unlike anything I’ve seen in my 30-year career.”
We knew that Conexon was the company…
We knew that Conexon was the company that could help us bring this to reality,” Smith says. “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.
The type of system, the Distributed TAP, is about the only way we felt we could go in a rural area like ours
… Quite honestly it was something I wasn’t even aware of, but once I got my head around it, it made a lot of sense. As far as being cost-effective, it’s worked really well, when you consider the price of TAPS versus running more fiber. It’s worked extremely well.
Clearly Conexon was the pick of the field
… Wood says. “It has been and still is the leader in fiber design and FTTH networks amongst electric co-ops. We talked to a lot of other co-ops, 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.
Conexon knows how the auction works…
… which meant we didn’t have to learn all of the aspects. All the legal and advisory services were part of the process with Conexon. It was nice not having to worry about the mechanics of the auction, Jonathan and the team knew how it works, so there was no learning curve. Had we done it by ourselves, I’m not sure we could have gotten our paperwork ready and participated, given our late start.
As a result of having a feasibility study…
… both pre-auction and post-auction, it was made clear to us that the win will allow us to cash flow in year one. We will not be subsidizing from the electric side.
Obviously Randy had the experience with several co-ops…
… he worked directly for,” Wood says. “He understands the challenges of low-density areas, but also the opportunities when you own the infrastructure, poles and overhead plant. He understands the culture of a co-op, being member and service-focused, so he’s able to help with the challenges of bringing in a new communications business.
The help Conexon provided with the auction process…
… was really the beginning of the value of our partnership. We had no experience, they brought the expertise to get us started. The results of the CAF II win will allow us to end year one and we will not be subsidizing the build-out from the electric side. That’s a unique story.
The federal compliance and requirements …
…for Internet and voice providers were completely new to us. We felt very comfortable that Conexon could help us set up the process and structures to make sure we were in compliance, and we were very successful in the auction in large part to Jonathan’s knowledge and insights.”
CAF II Award — $28.6M
All of our members will receive benefit…
All of our members will receive benefit from the enhanced electric, regardless of whether they choose to subscribe to broadband services. That’s the most important aspect to us, and this way, we can also provide broadband services to those who want them in an affordable way, without those services being subsidized.
That before and after review demonstrated…
.. what the auction meant to our co-op,” Smith says. “The results of the CAF II award mean we will not be subsidizing the build-out from the electric side, which is important for us. We had no idea of the magnitude of the auction, but Conexon did and that’s part of the value they bring to a partnership.
The CAF money changed our economic picture significantly…
… Wood says. “Having that revenue guaranteed for the first 10 years gives us the breathing room to work through growing pains. The biggest benefit is that it offsets the losses in the first few years when otherwise we would be building significant debt to the co-op.
Since we didn’t have (broadband) expertise we needed…
Since we didn’t have (broadband) expertise we needed someone we were comfortable with that we didn’t have to teach the co-op business model to. Conexon is made up of co-op people, so they understand how we need to do things.
We categorize this as another frontier…
We categorize this as another frontier, closely aligned with electricity to rural America in the late 30s and early 40s,” he says. “No one would build out because the farm was too far away. Now, 80 years later, we’re bringing something to rural Americans – something they need –that they couldn’t get another way.
This drives us every day.