In February, Southern Rivers Energy (SRE) announced its partnership with Conexon to design and build a fiber network that will strategically serve two purposes: provide smart-grid capabilities to improve electric service and reliability and provide fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) high-speed internet to every EMC member through Conexon’s newly formed internet service provider, Connect. Since then, staff on both sides have been working diligently on the network design, engineering, and establishing roles for the project.
The project will provide new broadband service to more than 15,000 unserved locations in SRE's service territory where, currently, there are no options for connectivity. Southern Rivers Energy will invest approximately $53 million to construct more than 2100 miles of fiber that will strengthen their electric grid and improve reliability. Conexon will invest a total of $6.5 million in electronics to provide broadband service to all of SRE’s members.
SRE will own the fiber and lease excess capacity to Conexon which has agreed to serve every SRE member with fiber-to-the-home internet with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. The internet service will be powered by EMC fiber, but Conexon Connect will provide the retail service to homes and businesses, managing account set-up, customer service, and billing.
A Conexon Connect Construction Project Manager is on-site, riding through the territory in Phase 1 to compare the fiber network design with the existing physical electric system and make any necessary changes to the fiber design. This is the earliest stage of make-ready engineering, which includes identifying poles that need to be replaced and trimming trees and vegetation that may interfere with electric and fiber lines.
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 fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) for SRE members.
The project is expected to be complete in three years but construction and subscriber connections will take place in phases based on the system design, starting at substations. The initial goal of the fiber-to-the-home part of the project is to provide high-speed internet to every Southern Rivers Energy member who wants service.
For more information, call Conexon Connect at 470-374-5600 or visit: conexonconnect.com/southernriversenergy.