For the Press

Conexon and Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative join forces to launch broadband network to serve nearly 100,000 rural Tennessee homes and businesses

KANSAS CITY, Mo., June 21, 2019 – Conexon, the nation’s leader in partnering with electric membership cooperatives to deploy broadband networks, is joining forces with Tennessee-based Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative (CEMC) to deploy a fiber-to-the-home network spanning five counties to serve 100 percent of the co-op’s members. Conexon has been selected to serve as their strategic partner for the overall project in a construction management and fiber design role.

CEMC partners with Conexon in broadband deployment and, with nearly 100,000 meters, they are one of the largest electric cooperatives to move forward with a fiber-to-the-home project. Under the auspices of a newly-formed subsidiary, Cumberland Connect, the co-op launched the six-year, $197 million project in early summer 2019. Cumberland Connect’s fiber-to-the-home network will encompass over 5,000 miles and offer high-speed internet, phone and TV services to all its members.

“Cumberland Electric, is a progressive co-op and they are committed to providing services like broadband that enrich the lives and communities of all its members,” said Conexon Partner Randy Klindt. “That true cooperative spirit is a philosophy we share and we are extremely proud to have been selected as CEMC’s strategic partner.”
The Conexon and CEMC relationship started in 2018, when Conexon provided an initial feasibility study that validated the business potential for the network build-out. The company was subsequently selected as strategic partner based on the breadth of experience and expertise of its team.

“Conexon has a level of experience and expertise no one else did,” said CEMC General Manager Chris Davis. “That’s something we need. This is quite a different business for us and the fact that Conexon brings the ‘whole package’ was what sold us. Our focus is on member service and that’s a focus we know Conexon shares.”

Conexon will design Cumberland Connect’s network using its industry-leading Rural Fiber Distribution Design Platform. This completely customizable technology enables Conexon to design the co-op’s entire network quickly, efficiently and accurately, and position it to accommodate for growth. Conexon will also serve in the
construction management role, provide marketing and customer service training support and help the co-op in securing available state and federal broadband funding.

“Electric co-ops are the center of our universe,” said Conexon Partner
Jonathan Chambers. “That means for us a ‘partner’ role doesn’t
start and stop with the build-out of a network. We understand the
magnitude of these projects and believe it’s our mission to offer
support at every step to make the network a reality – finding the
right vendors and contractors, tapping into available funding,
navigating the regulatory environment and helping market to members. We’re looking forward to a long and positive relationship with Cumberland Electric.”