For the Press

Natchez Trace Electric Power Association teams with Conexon to deploy fiber-to-the- home network, bringing broadband benefits to rural Mississippi homes and businesses

Network will enable lightning-fast high-speed internet and phone services.

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov. 16 , 2020 – Rural fiber-optic network design and construction management leader Conexon is working with Mississippi-based Natchez Trace Electric Power Association to deliver a comprehensive range of fiber broadband management services including network design, engineering, construction management and marketing support for its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network.

In July, Natchez Trace EPA, a 15,800-meter cooperative serving north Mississippi, was awarded a grant for a broadband pilot project funded by the federal CARES Act coronavirus recovery plan. With the assistance of Conexon, build-out kicked off immediately and the project is on track to begin delivering high-speed internet to customers by the end of the year.

“The fiber project at Natchez Trace EPA is another example of the foresight shown by Mississippi electric co-ops and the Mississippi state government,” said Jonathan Chambers, partner at Conexon. “By setting a high bar for rural broadband and an aggressive timetable for deployment, Mississippi leads the nation. Conexon works all across the country, and nothing in our experience matches the activity in Mississippi. We admire Shawn Edmondson’s leadership, and we’re proud to be part of the growing movement of electric cooperatives serving their members with broadband.”

The planned state-of-the-art fiber-optic network will offer members access to symmetrical gigabit internet capabilities – among the fastest and most robust in the nation. Symmetrical capabilities offer users the same high speeds for uploads and downloads, a differentiation that opens the possibilities of easier, more seamless access to telemedicine, work from home capabilities and reliable distance learning.

“Fiber was dead in the water here. Then this summer, we got a grant and today we’re hanging fiber,” said Edmondson, general manager of Natchez Trace EPA. “We’re grateful for Conexon’s support. From the first meeting, Conexon impressed us. Partners Jonathan [Chambers] and Randy [Klindt] were knowledgeable of the subject matter and authoritative – they knew exactly what needed to be done to be successful. They also really care about what they’re doing and believe in it. They sat down with us individually to explain how to be successful with our build, and how to prepare for, and what to expect in the federal funding process. Randy even made a special trip to present to our Board.”

“Every project we undertake with every cooperative is a new opportunity to impact not just individual lives but entire communities,” Conexon Partner Randy Klindt added. “We are honored to be a part of Natchez Trace EPA’s journey from the beginning, and we look forward to continuing that partnership to power lifestyle transformation for all its members.”