SATILLA REMC AND CONEXON CONNECT TO INVEST
$150 MILLION TO BRING FIBER BROADBAND TO SOUTH GEORGIA
Partnership will deliver Gigabit-speed fiber internet access
and reliable phone services in nine counties, and provide
enhanced smart grid electric infrastructure improvements
(ALMA, Ga. – May 25, 2021) – More than 57,000 south Georgia rural homes and businesses will have access to reliable, affordable, high-speed fiber broadband service through a new partnership announced today by Satilla Rural Electric Membership Corporation (SREMC) and Conexon Connect.
The Alma-based electric cooperative selected Conexon Connect to launch and deploy a world-class 6,000-mile fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network to 100 percent of its members. Conexon Connect is the internet service provider created and managed by rural fiber-optic network design and construction management leader Conexon. Conexon works exclusively with electric cooperatives and is considered one of the pioneers in the rural electric cooperative broadband effort.
The $150 million project will reach all Satilla REMC members in Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Coffee, Jeff Davis, Pierce, Ware and Wayne counties upon completion. The project is expected to be completed within 4-5 years, with service available to some members as soon as first quarter 2022.
The fiber-optic network will offer members access to symmetrical Gigabit internet service (same download and upload speeds) – among the fastest and most robust in the nation. Additionally, it will provide reliable, clear phone service and enhanced smart grid capabilities to include improved power outage response times, better load balancing, and more efficient electricity delivery, among other benefits.
“The announcement today will have a significant impact on hard-working Georgians by providing new job opportunities, improved education tools, and access to telemedicine,” said Governor Kemp. “I’m glad to see Satilla REMC and Conexon Connect investing in the lives of South Georgians by ensuring they have access to reliable, high-speed internet. This is yet another great result of Senate Bill 2 which I signed into law in 2019, which authorized EMCs to provide broadband service. The legislation is doing exactly what it was intended to do: encourage EMCs and community leaders to work together to close the gap on the digital divide in our state.”
“It’s a great day to be a Satilla REMC member,” PSC Commissioner Jason Shaw said. “Rural broadband is a critical issue for Georgia and across the nation. Once again, EMCs have taken a leadership role and offered tangible solutions to provide high-speed internet to unserved areas. This partnership is the latest example of how EMCs are stepping up to serve rural Georgia and further improve the quality of life for their members.”
“I’m grateful for Satilla REMC’s investment in broadband that will expand service over these nine counties in south Georgia,“ State Senator Tyler Harper said. “The State Senate has made rural broadband access a top priority and the announcement of this project continues to work toward our goal of closing the digital divide in our state.”
“Today’s announcement and the promise of high-speed internet is a game changer for the homes and businesses in our service area,” Satilla REMC President/CEO Romeo Reyes said. “Our members have waited patiently for access to broadband, now considered an essential service in today’s digital world. It’s vital that rural Georgia remain competitive and offer the same online choices to its residents – whether it’s working and learning from home, running a home-based business, visiting a doctor online or shopping for goods and services.”
“With this project, Satilla REMC has taken the first important steps toward bridging the digital divide at last for the thousands of unserved and underserved rural residents in south Georgia,” Conexon Partner Randy Klindt said. “Conexon Connect is proud to be a part of that story and a partner in building a world-class fiber network that will change the lives of so many.”
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, Middle Georgia EMC, Southern Rivers Energy, Tri-County EMC and Washington EMC, resulting in expanded access for approximately 160,000 Georgia homes and businesses.
Satilla REMC members interested in internet service are encouraged to visit the cooperative’s website or Facebook page to learn more about buildout schedules, pricing plans and to submit questions regarding the announcement.
About Satilla REMC
The Satilla Rural Electric Membership Corporation is a not-for-profit, member-owned electric membership cooperative located in southeastern Georgia. Satilla safely and reliably meets the energy needs of more than 38,000 members in Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Coffee, Jeff Davis, Pierce, Ware and Wayne counties. Satilla’s distribution system includes over 7,500 miles of line and more than 57,000 meters. The cooperative employs 155 employees and has been proudly serving the needs of its members and communities since 1937.
Conexon Connect is the 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.