Feasibility Planning and Financing for Fiber Broadband Success

Across rural America, the Digital Divide is closing, one mile of fiber at a time.

Committed to improving lives, serving members and bettering their communities, electric cooperatives across the country are helping bridge the Digital Divide by investing the time, money and intellectual resources to deploy fiber broadband networks across rural America.

Conexon’s mission is to help co-ops accomplish this goal, with resources for every step of the way. It all starts with effective planning and funding.

 

Feasibility/Business Plan Analysis

A comprehensive, accurate and realistic feasibility plan is the critical first step for any broadband deployment. Conexon’s team of professionals – many of them co-op veterans – takes a holistic and thorough approach to assessing your co-op’s ability to successfully deploy a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network. We look at every aspect of your infrastructure, operations and business model to first determine if broadband makes sense for your co-op, and if so, how to deploy and operate in the most efficient way.

Hands down, Conexon’s projects are the most successful in the country. Even if your co-op has conducted previous feasibility studies with discouraging results, Conexon may have an innovative solution.

Some of what our feasibility study delivers:

  • Long-term (20 year) financial forecast to determine project viability (based on latest cooperative financial statements and budgets and forecasts)
  • Determination of build-out based on financing needs, including competitive map overlay and analysis of RDOF or other federal or state funding obligations and build-out requirements by incumbent carriers
  • Analysis of all service offerings including broadband, voice service, television and options for bundling
  • Demographic and economic analysis of your served counties compared to other successful cooperative fiber projects
  • Inclusion of smart grid network connections in network capacity and design cost analysis
  • Recommended architecture and technology selection for accurate financial projection
  • Expert recommendations to improve the likelihood of success including financing, architecture, additional services, or areas to supplement density
  • Advice on federal regulatory issues

We won every block we went after.

Ron Barnes

“I don’t think you can get a much better testimony than that. … One hundred percent success is one hundred percent success. It was enough for us to be able to make our project viable.”

Ron Barnes, President & CEO
Coast Electric Power Association

It goes back to the whole fabric of how…

Tim Smith

“cooperatives have got to where we are today. Friends helping friends, neighbor helping neighbor, joining together to be bigger than we can be individually. I think the consortium makes a lot of sense. Why go into battle by yourself when you can go in with others? That’s been the cooperative way for a lot of years, and it’s a great concept.”

Tim Smith, GM
East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative

Most of the credit goes to Conexon.

“Randy and Jonathan bring so much experience to the table: Randy with the buildout and all that knowledge he has from his experience, and Jonathan, with his knowledge of the actual bidding process to secure funding to get the project off the ground. It really just made a huge difference for us.”

Dion Cooper, President & CEO
Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative

In a complex regulatory environment, Conexon has demonstrated unmatched expertise in securing the federal and state broadband funding that is empowering electric cooperatives across the nation to deploy fiber networks and work to close the Digital Divide.

FTTH Availability example

Future U.S. Government Grant Opportunities: 2021 & Beyond

The government has been investing rural telecommunications infrastructure for decades. There are current and future programs offering billions in grants and loans for broadband connectivity and rural communities, including more than $100 billion earmarked for broadband expansion as part of the 2021 American Rescue Plan created by the Biden Administration to aid with COVID-19 economic recovery across the country.

Our experts can help you navigate the current and future funding opportunities and help prepare your application. The “scoring” you receive on applications will determine the level of funding you receive. The applications drafted by us have consistently earned high scores which translated into optimum funding for our clients.

Get in touch to discuss funding opportunities available for your cooperative to take your broadband project to the next level.

Funding Expertise

Conexon is the industry leader in rural fiber broadband funding and regulatory initiatives, with more than 25 years of Federal Communications Commission auction experience. Led by the former chief of the FCC Office of Strategic Planning, our expert team has successfully identified and secured a total of over $1.3 billion in local, state and federal broadband funding has been secured for co-ops to date.

There’s a reason we lead the industry as the auction expert. Our track record in the FCC’s recent RDOF auction proves our success again: Conexon’s Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium, the RECC, was awarded over $1.1 billion to deploy 100% fiber networks in more than 600,000 rural communities across 22 states.

More than 90 cooperatives participated in the RDOF auction with Conexon as part of the RECC. The RECC was the auction’s largest bidding consortium, winning more states, locations and funding awards than any other consortium. It was the auction’s third highest recipient of both locations and funding.

The RDOF award builds on previous success from the last large-scale federal communications funding auction, the 2018 Connect America Fund (CAF) II. The consortium led by Conexon was the largest Gigabit-tier winner, awarded $186 million in CAF II.

“It’s been great to have Conexon as a partner to help us throughout the process. The team is showing us how to use what we know in the electric business to help us get started in the broadband business.”

Matthew Ware, Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association General Manager