Published May 1, 2020 | BBC Wires
KANSAS CITY, MO — Conexon, a provider of design and management services for the construction of rural fiber-optic networks, has launched its breakthrough Interactive RDOF (Rural Digital Opportunity Fund) Mapping Platform to guide cooperatives to broadband funding success in the upcoming $20-plus billion FCC (Federal Communications Commission) RDOF auction.
The RDOF program, for the first time in FCC history, prioritizes the best, rather than the least expensive service for rural America. Funding will be awarded to the provider offering service at the highest service tier. This sets the stage for electric co-ops to continue their work in closing the Digital Divide with fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks, serving their communities with gigabit-capable networks.
Conexon’s RDOF Mapping Platform was created by Conexon IT Vice President Mike Byrne – former FCC Chief Geographic Officer when the FCC was tasked with creating the country’s National Broadband Map. The platform builds upon Conexon’s approach in the CAF (Connect America Fund) II auction, and is designed specifically to equip cooperatives for bidding success in the upcoming RDOF auction. Armed with data produced by the mapping platform, co-ops know the exact census blocks and block groups where funding aligns with each co-op’s electric network and can bid accordingly.
“Conexon’s mapping tool gave us a very clear picture of the potential total RDOF funding we could receive, and an in-depth view that makes sense to electric cooperatives,” Missouri’s Pemiscot Dunklin Electric Cooperative CEO Tim Davis said. “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.”
Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium (RECC)
In anticipation of the RDOF, Conexon has established the next generation of its highly successful Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium (RECC). Conexon’s previous consortium was awarded more than $186 million in the 2018 CAF II auction to build out gigabit-capable networks in rural communities. The RECC was the only consortium in the CAF II auction comprised of electric cooperatives, and the largest winning bidder at the gigabit tier.
“The importance of broadband access has never been more evident than it is today,” Conexon Partner Jonathan Chambers said. “A lot of people talk about the importance of broadband in rural America. We build rural fiber networks. Every co-op that bid with us in the CAF II auction was successful. Every co-op working with us is building fiber to every member. The key to our success last time was thorough preparation by using our software tools. Mike has built us a better tool for RDOF, and scores of electric co-ops are ready today to bid, to build, to serve their communities.”
“Federal funding through RDOF is a critical component for electric co-ops to assume the significant financial responsibility of deploying broadband,” Conexon Partner Randy Klindt added. “Our mapping system removes the questions around available funding in their territories and provides them with an unmatched decision-making tool.”