For the Press

Advocacy in Action – Conexon and Cooperatives Team Up, Rural Americans Win

Given the advocacy efforts of Conexon, influential federal, state and community officials, and electric cooperatives, more than a million rural Americans stand to benefit from hundreds of millions of dollars in federal subsidies to deploy high-speed broadband services.

More than a million rural Americans across dozens of states stand to benefit from the recent broadband advocacy efforts of Conexon and its electric cooperative clients on behalf of their members.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently issued its updated list of areas eligible for the $16 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase 1 auction funding. This updated list includes 32,757 census blocks – impacting more than a million rural Americans – that were challenged by several companies falsely claiming to provide both 25/3 Mbps broadband and voice services in these areas. The claims were made to prevent competition from other providers, many of which are willing to deploy faster broadband services.

Collectively, Conexon, influential federal and state officials, local community leaders and impacted electric cooperatives in several states investigated the challenges and responded to the inaccurate claims made with the facts. As a result of the FCC’s ruling to deny the challenges, hundreds of millions of dollars of federal Universal Service Fund subsidies will now be available to other providers, including America’s electric cooperatives, willing to bring high-speed broadband services to rural communities in dozens of states. Had the challenges not been rejected by the FCC, it would likely have left the impacted communities without high-speed broadband for years to come.

“This is one of the most significant developments in our cooperative’s 83-year history,” said Tim Davis, General Manager and CEO of Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric Cooperative. “Thanks to the tireless advocacy and support of Jonathan Chambers who spearheaded the efforts, and the Conexon team, this ruling will have a positive and lasting impact on countless rural communities across the nation.”

“The FCC’s decision to deny a challenge that would have excluded over 2,200 census blocks in northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri was a direct result of a group of dedicated individuals and organizations that worked collectively to make a wrong a right,” added Sean Vanslyke, General Manager and CEO of SEMO Electric Cooperative. “If the FCC let the challenges stand, dozens of rural communities in Arkansas and Missouri would have continued to find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide. Now, the unserved locations are deemed eligible for bidding in the $16 billion RDOF Phase 1 auction – a true win for rural Americans.”