KANSAS CITY, Mo., June 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Conexon Connect, the internet service provider created and managed by rural fiber-optic network design and construction management leader Conexon, has been selected by south central Georgia’s Irwin EMC to provide access to reliable, affordable fiber broadband service for the cooperative’s 8,400 members.
The electric cooperative is teaming up with Conexon Connect to launch and deploy a 1,900-mile fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network that will span eight counties, reaching 100% of members in the territory it serves.
Conexon Connect’s partnership with Irwin EMC marks the internet service provider’s latest fiber broadband project in the state, having previously announced partnerships with Central Georgia EMC, Southern Rivers Energy, Washington EMC, Middle Georgia EMC, and Satilla REMC. Collectively, the EMCs and Connect will ultimately deliver access to fiber internet to approximately 150,000 rural central Georgia homes and businesses.
“The digital divide is very real in many communities across rural Georgia. Conexon Connect has formed multiple relationships with Georgia EMCs and we are excited for the opportunity to make a difference for those served by Irwin EMC,” Conexon Partner Randy Klindt said. “As we have seen in countless communities across the country, high-speed internet has the power to completely transform rural life.”
The $49 million fiber network is expected to be completed within 2-3 years. The first customers are anticipated to be connected in Summer 2022.
“Members of rural Georgia communities have long awaited high-speed internet access to make day-to-day life, such as telemedicine, remote learning, and communicating with loved ones, more accessible without having to travel outside of their homes,” said Randy Crenshaw, President and CEO of Irwin EMC. “Our members will finally be able to achieve the same internet capabilities as those in big cities thanks to our partnership with Conexon Connect. We are ready to show our members what a more connected community looks like in today’s day and age.”
The fiber-optic network will offer members access to symmetrical (same upload and download speeds) gigabit internet capabilities – among the fastest and most robust in the nation. Additionally, it will provide reliable, clear phone service and enable the benefits of smart grid capabilities to the electrical infrastructure, including improved power outage response times, better load balancing, more efficient electricity delivery and others.
“The founder of Conexon, Randy Klindt, spent twenty years working for electric co-ops, always in the position of the general manager of the broadband subsidiary. We adhere to co-op principles in our fiber projects — the project is focused on the community, the fiber is owned by the members who receive services, the same high-quality service is offered to 100% of the members, there is cooperation among other the cooperatives in the state,” Conexon Partner Jonathan Chambers said. “This last principle, in particular, has been important in Georgia. Over the course of the past year, Conexon and a group of co-ops met regularly to fashion an agreement that would bring fiber broadband to rural Georgia. There has been a lot of work behind the scenes. We’re pleased to make today’s announcement and look forward to getting to work.”
Conexon and Conexon Connect work exclusively with electric cooperatives with a commitment to serving 100% of co-op members with fiber broadband. With its clients, the company has designed more than 100,000 miles of fiber, builds more than 30,000 fiber miles per year and has connected nearly 500,000 rural Americans.
Conexon Connect participated as part of Conexon’s Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium, a bidding entity awarded over $1.1 billion through the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction to deliver broadband service at the gigabit (highest service level) tier. The Connect awards encompass dozens of electric co-op territories throughout 10 states. The ambitious initiatives will deliver lightning-fast symmetrical broadband service to 2 million Americans – fiber to 100% of rural homes and businesses in all the territories awarded in the RDOF auction. The company’s intent is to partner with the electric cooperatives serving those awarded territories – as in the instance of the Georgia cooperatives.