The FCC is Investing More Than $20 BILLION in Rural Broadband

In 2018, the FCC awarded more than $200 million in broadband funding to a consortium of electric cooperatives to build out gigabit-capable networks. It was the largest and most successful bidding consortium in FCC history – one assembled, designed and led by Conexon.

Now, take advantage of the biggest rural broadband funding opportunity ever.

Join the leading RDOF Consortium 2020.

Read About Successful Co-op Broadband Rollouts

Our Mission:

In the 1930s, the country embarked on a great endeavor to bring electricity to rural America. Rural Electric Cooperatives have been serving our communities for eighty years. Our clients are embarking on the next great endeavor, bringing fiber optic internet access to rural America. The difference between the 1930s and now is not the cost to build networks, nor the technical know-how — it is the will to do so. We believe in rural America. We believe rural Americans deserve the same opportunities as the rest of the country. We believe Americans can still build things. Join the movement to Connect Rural America to true broadband access to the internet.

We’re a Full-Service Co-Op Broadband Consulting Firm

Feasibility Studies

FEASIBILITY STUDIES

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Funding

FUNDING

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Network Design

NETWORK DESIGN

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Fiber Construction

CONSTRUCTION

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Customer Support

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

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Voice Services

VOICE SERVICES

Conexon Connect’s regulatory experience, engineering expertise, and purchasing power made it the logical choice for our voice telecom service.

We desired a partner that not only could handle all of the technical details to get our service up and running quickly and easily, but would also be there with us for the long term.”

Randall Abel
Chief Operating Officer - Northeast Mississippi EPA

If done right voice will be a very profitable additional service.

Terie Hannay

In my 12 years of supporting voice services with cooperative partners, I have seen various missteps. The Conexon Connect VoIP service offering eliminates the potential for errors. With our full-service offering we not only provide the service but the training and ongoing support to ensure success.

Terie Hannay
Conexon - VP of Telecommunications Service and Veteran Telecom and Broadband Leader

Part of the expertise Conexon brings to our project is in providing voice service…

Chad Lowder

… a requirement for securing funds from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. Experience and expertise in voice was very important to us because the phone side of this business is a whole different world. We have every confidence that Conexon, as our phone provider of record, will ensure a quality service for members, and effectively manage the taxation and regulatory complexities of offering voice.

Chad Lowder
Chief Executive Officer - Tri-County Electric Cooperative

Jonathan Chambers and the team knew how the auction works…

Tim Smith

which meant we didn’t have to worry about the mechanics of the auction or learn all of the aspects of it.

CAF II Award: $22M

Tim Smith
General Manager, East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative

Conexon was instrumental in developing and implementing a successful strategy…

Bob Hance

that helped us secure funding through the CAF II auction process. Not only does this support enable us to hit key financial targets, we can now reach new markets and customers while doing our part to help close the rural/urban digital divide that exists in our country.  We look forward to continuing our partnership with Conexon in the upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity Fund in 2020!

CAF II Award: $5.2M

Bob Hance
President & CEO, Midwest Energy & Communications

The $20 million we were awarded has made a huge difference in our buildout…

David Gervan

giving us the opportunity to build out our high-cost areas. We would have struggled to do so without it.

CAF II Award: $20M

David Girvan
COO, United Fiber

United Fiber won a significant amount in the CAF II auction.

Jim Bagley

This was made possible by hard work, strategy and choosing the right partners. We would not have been successful without the help of the Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium and Conexon. Working together provided United with the expertise to successfully navigate the auction and win over $20 million. This money will change lives in northwest Missouri!

CAF II Award: $20M

Jim Bagley
CEO/General Manager, United Electric Cooperative

Ultimately Conexon hit a home run in designing our bids.

Tim Johnson

Jon explained to us the advantages of being a rural co-op and pole owner. He was an expert in where the funding was and how it would be distributed. His experience was invaluable.

NY & CAF II Awards: $14M

Tim Johnson
CEO, Otsego Electric Cooperative

It was obvious from the first call how knowledgeable Jonathan was…

about the ins and outs of the auction, and the expertise on Conexon’s staff was clear. It was a no-brainer to join the consortium and we were very successful.

“In fact, since Conexon’s CAF II success, other consultants are coming out of the woodwork saying they can help us with the upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), but we’re staying with Conexon, joining its consortium again. We know they have the knowledge and understanding of the bidding structure and the experience to be successful.

CAF II Award: $15.4M

Casey Logan
CEO, Prince George Electric Cooperative

The ReConnect funding will move up our break-even point…

Jeff Newman

for Forked Deer and allow us to shave nearly a year off the original three-year deployment. Conexon has been an invaluable partner in funding support. The ReConnect grant creates a totally new financial picture for us and allows us to serve all our members faster than we had anticipated.

ReConnect Grant: $2.85M

Jeff Newman
CEO, Forked Deer Electric Cooperative Inc.

We rely on Conexon to help identify and secure the funding…

Sean Vanslyke

that will enable us to build outside our territory and serve members faster. We were successful in the 2018 Connect America Fund II and are confident about the upcoming (RDOF) opportunity.

CAF II Award: $2M

Sean Vanslyke
CEO/General Manager, SEMO Electric

That before and after review demonstrated what the auction meant to our co-op.

Tim Smith

The results of the CAF II award mean we will not be subsidizing the build-out from the electric side, which is important for us. We had no idea of the magnitude of the auction, but Conexon did and that’s part of the value they bring to a partnership.

CAF II Award: $22.5M

Tim Smith
General Manager, East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative

The CAF II funding had a significant cash flow impact.

It means less borrowing for the project, which is helpful for the cooperative from an equity perspective.

CAF II Award: $4.7M

Barret Ewing
Engineer and Operations Director, Wave Rural Connect (Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative)

The CAF money changed our economic picture significantly.

Gary Wood

Having that revenue guaranteed for the first 10 years gives us the breathing room to work through growing pains. The biggest benefit is that it offsets the losses in first few years when otherwise we would be building significant debt to the co-op.

CAF II Award: $28.6M
ReConnect Award: $28M

Gary Wood
President & CEO, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative

I was ecstatic after the auction. Thanks to Conexon, we were extremely successful.

The CAF II funding has allowed us to expand our service to meet the needs of additional areas that otherwise would be underserved or unserved. And although we were always on target for a successful ROI, our timelines for that are shortened considerably with the CAF II funds.

CAF II Award: $22M

 

Aaron Bradshaw
CEO, Co-Mo Electric Cooperative

The availability of affordable, high-quality internet service has the power to changes lives and communities…

Mel Coleman

especially in rural areas that have been left behind by other providers. Thanks in part to Conexon’s expertise, we now have the funding and operational support to deliver broadband to our communities in a way that is financially viable and benefits our electric side as well.

CAF II Award: $22.6M

Mel Coleman
CEO, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative

Jonathan and Randy were instrumental in working with our team to get that funding for our project…

jason strong

and it changed our financials dramatically. The $22.6 million gives us some breathing room. It helps our broadband subsidiary become profitable so much quicker, moving up our break-even point and positive cash flow.

CAF II Award $22.6M

Jason Strong
Vice President, Engineering, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative

The regulatory support of Jonathan and the team in Washington has been invaluable.

Having someone help you understand what funds and areas are available and making sure you don’t leave available money on the table is a huge benefit.

CAF II Award: $23M

Steve Bandy
General Manager, OzarksGo

As a co-op, we’re committed to ensuring our members and communities have access

to all of the societal, education and economic benefits that world-class broadband delivers, backed by our cooperative commitment to make lives better. Conexon’s expertise and support have made a tremendous difference in our ability to do that. Randy and Jonathan have been valuable partners and instrumental to our success.

CAF II Award: $23M

Mitchell Johnson
President and CEO, Ozarks Electric Cooperative

Conexon’s mapping tool gave us a very clear picture of the potential total RDOF funding we could receive

Tim Davis

and an in-depth view that makes sense to electric cooperatives. No one else has the capability to provide that much accurate financial funding detail to a co-op. It’s critical as we make these important investment decisions.

Tim Davis
CEO, Pemiscot Dunklin

Conexon was able to walk us through the application process and manage all the milestones

Without the help of Conexon and its experienced staff, PGEC Enterprises, LLC would not have had the opportunity to provide highspeed FTTH internet access to the members of our, currently non served, communities.  Conexon was able to walk us through the application process and manage all the milestones for our cooperative.  It took close to 20 years to full deploy electricity to our communities nearly 80 years ago.  However, with the 15.4M of CAF II funding we have received, we will be able to provide FTTH services to these same locations in only a few years.

Casey Logan
CEO, Prince George Electric

United Fiber won a significant amount in the CAF II auction

Jim Bagley, CEO

This was made possible by hard work, strategy and choosing the right partners. United would not have been successful without the help of the Rural Electric Consortium and Conexon. Working together provided United with the expertise to successfully navigate the action and win over $20 million. This money will change lives in northwest Missouri!” CAF II Award- $20.1 M

Jim Bagley
CEO, United Electric Cooperative

Electric co-ops are often dependent on third-party call centers

Randy Klindt

Electric co-ops are often dependent on third-party call centers that don’t understand the nature of their business, and often can’t go beyond answering a call. We have a staff of veteran engineers who have built fiber networks and call centers for over a decade and possess the specific expertise for efficient resolution, while maintaining the highest level of customer satisfaction.

Randy Klindt
Conexon Partner

We listened to our electric cooperative clients

Andy Burger

We listened to our electric cooperative clients and realized the need for a call center capable of handling calls quickly the first time. Traditional call centers are set up to support multiple technologies, which limits their expertise and ability to truly understand the specific nuances of fiber. We work only with electric cooperatives building fiber-to-the-home, which allows us to understand exactly what you need.

Andy Burger
Conexon-VP of Operations

We’re doing things at a very fast pace and Conexon has been our boots on the street

Tim Smith

We’re doing things at a very fast pace and Conexon has been our boots on the street, managing our network, construction and overseeing the many moving parts on a daily basis. They have been involved in preparing RFPs, coordinating our contractor and vendor selection and they’ve been out in the field with our contractors as we’re building out, verifying the completion and quality of work.

Tim Smith
General Manager, East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative

Having that revenue guaranteed for the first 10 years gives us the breathing room to work through growing pains.

Gary Wood

“The biggest benefit is that it offsets the losses in first few years when otherwise, we would be building significant debt to the co-op.”
CAF II Award — $28.6M

Gary Wood President & CEO, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative

It started off very unwillingly…

I was very skeptical, at times outspokenly so, that broadband was not something electric cooperatives should be doing. Obviously, those thoughts and comments look foolish today as we deploy fiber-to-the-home ourselves. My opinion changed as I became more educated and several main assumptions about cooperative broadband projects proved inaccurate. It also began when Jonathan Chambers with Conexon presented to Oklahoma statewide in February 2017. Not only did he dispel some myths regarding the main challenges in getting into broadband, but it was also clear that Conexon could provide the expertise needed to make it happen. Fast forward a few years with our launch and Conexon has been with us at every step. Without Conexon, we would not have a fiber-to-the-home project

Patrick Grace
CEO, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative

Randy knows electric co-ops and he knows broadband inside and out.

Tim Davis

“Being able to pull from that experience is great. The way he laid out the plan made perfect sense, and with the research and thought behind it, it was a direction we felt we could go in.”

“We shared the feasibility plan with our Board,” says Tim Davis, “and the rest is history. I have a lot of respect for Jonathan Chambers. He’s an ethical guy and we put a lot of stock in what he said.”

Tim Davis
CEO, Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric Cooperative

Within 30 minutes of meeting Randy…

Goodspeed

“Trust,” he said. “Within 30 minutes of meeting Randy, I knew Conexon was the right company. They brought experience and knowledge, but also respect, compassion, and understanding of exactly what we were facing. With Randy and the team, I knew I was sitting across the table from someone who had actually been where I was. I couldn’t have found a better partner.”

David Goodspeed
President, OEC Fiber

We’re a small co-op with limited resources.

Jack Davis

Our Conexon project manager takes a huge load off of us, doing everything from working with contractors and vendors, to doing ride-outs, pulling permits and a lot more. We always have someone there when we have questions and we can get answers right away. I don’t know how we could have done this without Conexon.

Jack Davis
Chief Technology Officer, Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric Cooperative

Conexon basically auto-designed our entire system in 3 days.

Goodspeed

This allows us to now very quickly deploy wherever we want because we’ve eliminated that step. The benefits of the auto-design – saving us time, energy and effort – makes us go so much faster now.”

David Goodspeed
President, OEC Fiber

We were still trying to figure out the best way…

Gary Wood

… to get to where we wanted to go,” Wood recalls, “when at a CEO conference, Jonathan Chambers gave a talk about Conexon, its co-op experience and its approach to fiber. We decided to take one more look at whether a fiber buildout was feasible on our system.”

That “one more look” led to a feasibility study delivered by Conexon that ultimately brought CVEC’s broadband efforts full circle – the decision to serve members with its own high-speed data network.

Gary Wood
President & CEO, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative

If you’re getting questions about broadband from members or your board…

Tim Smith

“Get a study,” he advises other cooperative leaders. “Broadband isn’t for every company, but you can’t answer the question of ‘why or why not’ without that feasibility study.

Tim Smith
GM ECOEC

Conexon has been able to have a hand in everything…

Goodspeed

“Conexon has been able to have a hand in everything and that support allowed us to jump in and out of tasks and react very quickly,” said Goodspeed, “At every step, they were there saying, ‘this is what we think you should do.’ We had our lifeline in Conexon, with availability and accessibility, unlike anything I’ve seen in my 30-year career.”

David Goodspeed
President, OEC Fiber

We knew that Conexon was the company…

Tim Smith

We knew that Conexon was the company that could help us bring this to reality,” Smith says. “They have a proven track record with other cooperatives and a blueprint on how to do this in a way that works in terms of affordability, speed of deployment and sustainability.

Tim Smith
GM ECOEC

The type of system, the Distributed TAP, is about the only way we felt we could go in a rural area like ours

Jack Davis

… Quite honestly it was something I wasn’t even aware of, but once I got my head around it, it made a lot of sense. As far as being cost-effective, it’s worked really well, when you consider the price of TAPS versus running more fiber. It’s worked extremely well.

Jack Davis
Chief Technology Officer, Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric Cooperative

Clearly Conexon was the pick of the field

Gary Wood

… Wood says. “It has been and still is the leader in fiber design and FTTH networks amongst electric co-ops. We talked to a lot of other co-ops, and part of what separated Conexon was its involvement with all of the co-op projects we could find that had delivered high performance, successfully been built in a relatively compressed schedule, and stayed within a reasonable budget. Conexon is the only consultant I know that has met all of three of those consistently.

Gary Wood
President & CEO, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative

Conexon knows how the auction works…

Tim Smith

… which meant we didn’t have to learn all of the aspects. All the legal and advisory services were part of the process with Conexon. It was nice not having to worry about the mechanics of the auction, Jonathan and the team knew how it works, so there was no learning curve. Had we done it by ourselves, I’m not sure we could have gotten our paperwork ready and participated, given our late start.

Tim Smith
GM ECOEC

As a result of having a feasibility study…

Tim Smith

… both pre-auction and post-auction, it was made clear to us that the win will allow us to cash flow in year one. We will not be subsidizing from the electric side.

Tim Smith
GM ECOEC

Obviously Randy had the experience with several co-ops…

Gary Wood

… he worked directly for,” Wood says. “He understands the challenges of low-density areas, but also the opportunities when you own the infrastructure, poles and overhead plant. He understands the culture of a co-op, being member and service-focused, so he’s able to help with the challenges of bringing in a new communications business.

Gary Wood
President & CEO, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative

The help Conexon provided with the auction process…

Tim Smith

… was really the beginning of the value of our partnership. We had no experience, they brought the expertise to get us started. The results of the CAF II win will allow us to end year one and we will not be subsidizing the build-out from the electric side. That’s a unique story.

Tim Smith
GM ECOEC

The federal compliance and requirements …

Gary Wood

…for Internet and voice providers were completely new to us. We felt very comfortable that Conexon could help us set up the process and structures to make sure we were in compliance, and we were very successful in the auction in large part to Jonathan’s knowledge and insights.”

CAF II Award — $28.6M

Gary Wood
President & CEO, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative

All of our members will receive benefit…

Tim Smith

All of our members will receive benefit from the enhanced electric, regardless of whether they choose to subscribe to broadband services. That’s the most important aspect to us, and this way, we can also provide broadband services to those who want them in an affordable way, without those services being subsidized.

Tim Smith
GM ECOEC

That before and after review demonstrated…

Tim Smith

.. what the auction meant to our co-op,” Smith says. “The results of the CAF II award mean we will not be subsidizing the build-out from the electric side, which is important for us. We had no idea of the magnitude of the auction, but Conexon did and that’s part of the value they bring to a partnership.

Tim Smith
GM ECOEC

The CAF money changed our economic picture significantly…

Gary Wood

… Wood says. “Having that revenue guaranteed for the first 10 years gives us the breathing room to work through growing pains. The biggest benefit is that it offsets the losses in the first few years when otherwise we would be building significant debt to the co-op.

Gary Wood
President & CEO, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative

Since we didn’t have (broadband) expertise we needed…

Tim Smith

Since we didn’t have (broadband) expertise we needed someone we were comfortable with that we didn’t have to teach the co-op business model to. Conexon is made up of co-op people, so they understand how we need to do things.

Tim Smith
GM ECOEC

We categorize this as another frontier…

Tim Smith

We categorize this as another frontier, closely aligned with electricity to rural America in the late 30s and early 40s,” he says. “No one would build out because the farm was too far away. Now, 80 years later, we’re bringing something to rural Americans – something they need –that they couldn’t get another way.

This drives us every day.

Tim Smith
GM ECOEC

The Electric Co-op Rural Broadband Movement is Growing

Here’s How Conexon is Helping:

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