(Vienna, GA – April 27, 2021) – Middle Georgia EMC announced plans today to transform life for its 4,800 members by providing access to reliable, affordable, high-speed fiber broadband service. The cooperative has selected Conexon Connect, the newly-formed internet service provider created and managed by rural fiber-optic network design and construction management leader Conexon, to lead the project.
The electric cooperative is teaming up with Conexon Connect to launch and deploy a 1,900-mile fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network providing high-speed internet access to 4,800 members in Dooly, Houston, Macon, Pulaski, Turner, Wilcox and Ben Hill counties in central Georgia. The $36.7 million project will reach 100 percent of the Middle Georgia EMC membership with fiber internet upon completion, which is expected within two years. The first customers will be connected as early as first quarter 2022.
The fiber-optic network will offer members access to symmetrical Gigabit internet capabilities (same download and upload speeds) – among the fastest and most robust in the nation. Additionally, it will provide reliable, clear phone service and enable the benefits of smart grid capabilities to the electrical infrastructure, including improved power outage response times, better load balancing, more efficient electricity delivery and other benefits.
“Middle Georgia EMC and Conexon Connect’s announcement today is going to positively impact the lives of countless hardworking Georgians in some of the most rural agricultural communities in our state. Fiber broadband service opens doors for new business opportunities, additional education resources, telemedicine, and so many other tools that improve everyday quality of life,” said Governor Kemp. “This is another product of Senate Bill 2 which I signed in 2019, giving EMCs the legal ability to provide broadband service. I want to thank Middle Georgia EMC’s leadership for finding a partner to help develop a solution that will serve their entire community.”
“High-speed internet service is no longer just a want in today’s world,” said Public Service Commissioner Jason Shaw. “It is absolutely a need. Lack of fast, reliable internet service in rural areas is something I hear about from Georgians all over the state each and every day. Georgia’s Public Service Commission is dedicated to helping improve broadband access for every household in this state, no matter the location.”
“I am proud to say that Georgia’s 13th district will soon be better connected than ever before. Our community deserves access to the tools that help our residents and businesses successfully participate in our local, state, national and global economy,” says Sen. Carden Summers.
“Today’s announcement proves that when people work together and put service above self, anything is possible,” said Rep. Patty Bentley. “Thanks to Middle Georgia EMC and Conexon Connect, our children, parents and businesses will have the same opportunities that high-speed internet affords their peers in other areas of the state.”
“Our members have waited long enough for high-speed access to make telemedicine, remote learning, working from home and videoconferencing with loved ones a reality on a daily basis,” said Randy Crenshaw, president and CEO of Middle Georgia EMC. “Conexon Connect is making it possible for our members to access this vital service at last. We are ready to show them all the opportunities that open up in a more connected community.”
“The future in rural Georgia looks brighter than ever, and that is in no small part due to the commitment and contributions of dedicated electric cooperatives such as Middle Georgia EMC,” Conexon Partner Randy Klindt said. “We know fiber-to-the-home is life-changing. Now Middle Georgia EMC members will get to experience the power and convenience of light speed connectivity for themselves.”
In recent years, Georgia’s EMCs have been aggressively pursuing solutions to help expand broadband. Some, like Blue Ridge Mountain EMC and Habersham EMC, have created affiliates and are already providing high-speed service to members and many are exploring or have formed partnerships with broadband providers. In addition to today’s news, other EMC partnerships and projects were announced recently by Amicalola EMC, Carroll EMC, Central Georgia EMC, Colquitt EMC, Diverse Power, Southern Rivers Energy, Tri-County EMCWashington EMC resulting in expanded access for more than 120,000 Georgia homes and businesses.
About Middle Georgia EMC:
Middle Georgia EMC is a member-owned electric membership corporation that currently provides electricity and other related services to approximately 4,800 members on a system that includes nearly 1,900 miles of line and 8,500 meters in Dooly, Pulaski, Wilcox, Houston, Turner, Macon and Ben Hill counties. The cooperative employs 46 full-time employees and has been proudly serving members since 1940.
Conexon Connect is the newly formed internet services provider (ISP) arm of rural fiber broadband design and construction management leader Conexon. The subsidiary was formed to operate and manage cooperative and investor-owned 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. The Connect approach is to work exclusively with electric cooperatives to launch and deploy high-speed fiber-optic networks – the gold standard of communications transmission – enabling them to offer world-class fiber broadband to 100% of their members.
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 inception 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 200,000 connected fiber-to-the-home subscribers across the U.S. Overall, the company has secured more than $1.3 billion in federal and state funding for its clients across the country.