Conexon internet service provider Connect partners with Osage Valley Electric Cooperative and Sac Osage Electric Cooperative to build world-class fiber-to-the- home networks

May 28, 2021 12:23 PM EDT

New partnership with west central Missouri cooperatives represents opportunity for FTTH construction less than 100 miles from Conexon home office, delivering high- speed internet to 24,000 rural Missouri homes and businesses

KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Conexon Connect, the internet services provider created and managed by rural fiber-optic network design and construction management leader Conexon, has been selected by two west central Missouri electric cooperatives to transform their communities with reliable, affordable broadband service. 

Osage Valley Electric Cooperative and Sac Osage Electric Cooperative have signed on with Connect to launch and deploy fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks providing high-speed internet access to 24,000 homes and businesses spanning 17 counties in Missouri. The two co-ops are the closest electric membership cooperatives to Conexon’s Kansas City home office.

The Missouri partnerships follow Connect’s recently announced agreements with several Georgia electric membership corporations. Once complete, the Connect projects will have delivered high-speed internet access to more than 100,000 rural Americans.

“This partnership presents an exciting opportunity to bring the power of Conexon fiber broadband to our own backyard,” Conexon Partner Randy Klindt said. “We’ll be installing fiber in areas just an hour away from our Conexon corporate headquarters. Now, with Connect, we’ll be on the ground both building and operating the network for local customers, and watching firsthand as Osage Valley and Sac Osage members experience the life-changing impact of broadband to power their homes, businesses, health care and education.”

Together Conexon and the co-ops are investing over $130 million to build the network, which will enable improved electric service and increased reliability through smart grid capabilities in addition to delivering world-class internet access. The Osage Valley Electric project is expected to be completed within five years, with the first customers connected in 4Q 2021. The Sac Osage Electric network is expected to be completed within four years, with the first customers connected in 1Q 2022.

“This endeavor represents a huge opportunity for our rural communities of Osage Valley to move forward with access to the technology that has powered lives in urban areas for years – but has been woefully absent for our members,” said Jarrod Campbell, CEO of Osage Valley Electric Cooperative. “With Conexon guiding the process every step of the way, we know our members are in the best possible hands from start to finish and will receive exceptional service on a state-of-the-art network.”

“Without question, fiber broadband will be a gamechanger,” said Jim Davis, General Manager of Sac Osage Electric Cooperative. “The speed, reliability, affordability, and attention to customer service that Conexon’s network will provide will change lives from the moment it is deployed. We cannot wait to share that future with every one of our members and watch our communities flourish.”

Conexon and 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 miles per year and has connected over 200,000 subscribers.

“We’re in a race in rural America,” said Conexon Partner Jonathan Chambers, “a race between connection and isolation. Isolation means poorer access to education, health care, and economic opportunity, which in turn means people abandon rural areas. That’s the trend of the past several decades. For the first time in our history, rural populations are declining.

"Connection through high-speed internet access has the chance to reverse that trend. This mission is no different than the mission each electric co-op took on over 80 years ago. We are thrilled to be working with Sac Osage and Osage Valley electric co-ops to renew their mission and connect their members to world class internet access."

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 millions of 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 Missouri cooperatives, and the Georgia electric membership corporations.

About Conexon Connect

Conexon Connect is the internet services provider (ISP) arm of rural fiber broadband design and construction management leader Conexon. The subsidiary was formed to operate and manage  cooperative- and investor-owned fiber-to-the-home networks. Connect leverages Conexon’s decades of co-op operations, fiber-optic design and construction, telecommunications, federal and state lobbying and customer experience management expertise to successfully launch and operate projects. The Connect approach is to work exclusively with electric cooperatives to launch and deploy high-speed fiber-optic networks – the gold standard of communications transmission – enabling them to offer world-class fiber broadband to 100% of their members.

About Conexon

Conexon works with Rural Electric Cooperatives to bring fiber to the home in rural communities. The company is composed of professionals who have worked in electric cooperatives and the telecommunications industry, and offer decades of individual experience in business planning, building networks, marketing and selling telecommunications. Conexon offers its electric cooperative clients end-to-end broadband deployment and operations support, from a project’s inception all the way through to its long-term sustainability. It works with clients to analyze economic feasibility, secure financing, design the network, manage construction, provide operational support, optimize business performance and determine optimal partnerships. To date, Conexon has assisted nearly 200 electric cooperatives, nearly 50 of which are deploying fiber networks, with more than 200,000 connected fiber-to-the-home subscribers across the U.S. Overall, the company has secured more than $1.3 billion in federal and state funding for its clients across the country.

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