Southern Rivers Energy Announces Partnership with Conexon to Build Fiber Network
BARNESVILLE, GA —Today at a special presentation at the Georgia State Capitol, Southern Rivers Energy (SRE) announced a formal partnership with full-service broadband consulting firm, Conexon, to provide members access to high-speed internet.
Southern Rivers Energy (SRE) intends to partner with Conexon to design and build a fiber network that will strategically serve two purposes: support technological advances and increased reliability in electric service to members by way of a true smart grid, and give Conexon the opportunity to provide fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) to every SRE member.
This partnership allows SRE to build a future-proof electric network that will help their communities thrive for decades to come, while indirectly filling the need of providing high-speed internet for residents in SRE’s territory.
“The majority of the areas we serve have no access to quality, reliable internet service. That changes today," says Michael McMillan, the cooperative's CEO. “We know that a fiber infrastructure is a significant investment, but we also know that our communities are worth that investment—in the infrastructure and resources necessary to encourage growth. Electric cooperatives brought rural areas electricity in the 1930s and early ‘40s when no other company would. The current internet crisis is the 21st century version of that.”
The project will provide new broadband service to more than 15,000 SRE members in Bibb, Coweta, Crawford, Lamar, Monroe, Meriwether, Spalding, Pike and Upson counties. Southern Rivers Energy will invest approximately $53 million to construct more than 2,100 miles of fiber that will strengthen the electric grid and improve reliability. The co-op will own the fiber and lease excess capacity to Conexon, which will invest an additional $6.5 million in electronics to serve every SRE member with fiber-to-the-home internet speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.
The internet service will be powered by EMC fiber, but Conexon will provide the retail service to homes and businesses, managing account set-up, customer service, and billing.
“We are confident that we found the best partner in Conexon and the best business model that will allow us to continue focusing on our core mission of providing reliable, affordable electric service while Conexon uses its expertise to provide quality high-speed internet to all of our members at a cost they can afford,” said McMillan.
Details are still being finalized, including a construction timeline but coordination and planning for the network is already underway. Visit southernriversenergy.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for the latest broadband news.
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 conception 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 150,000 connected fiber-to-the-home subscribers across the U.S. The company has secured over $1.3 billion in federal and state funding for its clients.