For the Press

Conexon Connect charts major milestone for rural Georgia; completes 2,000-mile inaugural fiber broadband network in two years, surpasses subscriber projections

Internet Service Provider arm of rural broadband leader Conexon partners with Southern Rivers Energy to bring gigabit-speed internet access to more than 20,000 homes and businesses across co-op’s rural communities

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 18, 2023 – Conexon Connect, the internet service provider (ISP) formed by rural fiber broadband leader Conexon, has completed its first electric cooperative network build, a nearly 2,000-mile fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network in partnership with Southern Rivers Energy (SRE), headquartered in Barnesville, Ga.

The Connect, powered by Southern Rivers Energy, network – announced in 2021 as part of the first Connect partnership project – was completed at the end of August, condensing a three-year build into two years.

The inaugural project for Conexon’s ISP is a significant accomplishment, and represents the implementation of a national ISP infrastructure. The company leveraged its experience and expertise in services provided to cooperative clients – customer service and technical support, construction, marketing, and field and installation operations and more – successfully converting them for Conexon Connect projects within the span of less than three years from the ISP’s launch.

Since beginning SRE network construction, Conexon Connect has expanded far beyond its initial partnership with SRE and neighboring cooperative Central Georgia EMC. Today, Connect partnerships include 20 electric cooperatives across seven states, reaching nearly 400,000 rural homes and businesses upon completion of current projects, with additional network partnerships yet to be announced.

“Where we are today is the culmination of vision, dedication, and hard work from all involved in our Conexon Connect partnerships,” Conexon Founding Partner and Conexon Connect CEO Randy Klindt said. “Two years ago, we started construction on the Southern Rivers Energy network as part of some of our initial Connect projects, and the success and customer interest we have experienced validates the high demand for quality, affordable high-speed internet in rural communities. We appreciate Southern Rivers’ leadership, and the partnership demonstrated throughout the entire co-op. Together, we have made a significant difference for rural Georgia members.”

The Connect, powered by Southern Rivers Energy, network is a nearly $60 million project originally slated to be finished within three years and reach 100 percent of SRE’s members across nine counties. The Connect co-op partnership model leverages the resources and relationships gained through Conexon’s tenure and experience as the leading rural fiber broadband solutions provider, allowing Conexon Connect to expedite its project builds while streamlining costs.

“The completion of our fiber network couldn’t come soon enough. The digital divide for Southern Rivers Energy members is finally closing,” said SRE President/CEO Michael McMillan. “The streamlined process and speed with which Conexon was able to construct our network was incredible. Not only does it provide new opportunities through access to fiber broadband, but also for smart grid technologies to strengthen our electric system. Meeting our members' needs is our primary goal and we could not be more proud to be part of this solution to the rural broadband desert through our partnership with Conexon Connect.”

The SRE project has been met with tremendous enthusiasm since it was first announced in early 2021, and customer interest among SRE members continues to grow as more members are connected to high-speed fiber internet.

“Over the past several years, countless announcements have been made about broadband funding and broadband construction. There are far fewer announcements of the sort we are making today — completion of a fiber-optic network to all members of an electric cooperative,” Conexon Partner Jonathan Chambers said. “Southern Rivers Energy is the new gold standard for broadband — a fiber-optic network built for the electric co-op’s smart grid applications with sufficient capacity to ensure world-class, multi-gigabit symmetrical service available to all, completed on time and under budget.

“I especially want to thank Michael McMillan and the SRE board for putting their faith in us three years ago. It’s been a great working relationship that will benefit SRE members for decades to come.”

Conexon and Conexon Connect work with electric cooperatives and community entities committed to serving residents with fiber broadband. With its clients, the company has designed more than 200,000 miles of fiber, connected more than 500,000 rural American homes to fiber and builds more than 50,000 miles of fiber annually.


About Conexon Connect

Conexon Connect is the internet service provider (ISP) arm of rural fiber broadband design and construction management leader Conexon. The subsidiary was formed to operate and manage cooperative and investor 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.