Rural fiber-optic network design and construction management leader, Conexon, and global communications platforms, systems and services provider, Calix, are collaborating to ensure access to a continuous supply of customer and back-office communications equipment for electric cooperatives building fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks across rural America.
There are currently multiple state and federal funding initiatives aimed at expanding broadband availability across rural America, which are driving an increased number of rapidly paced projects. Within an environment of accelerated timelines where customers must be connected quickly and seamlessly, Conexon and Calix are committed to providing cooperatives the advanced equipment, electronics and software platforms they need to ensure a positive broadband experience for the residents and businesses they serve.
“Conexon is closely aligned with our vision for bridging the digital divide and has been instrumental in spearheading the cooperative broadband movement,” said Matt Collins, Chief Marketing Officer for Calix. “This partnership is a natural fit since Conexon helps electric cooperatives serve many of our most rural communities, and we are the leader in delivering fast, reliable broadband solutions for underserved areas in the U.S. We know that when Conexon brings us into a project, the cooperative is serious about delivering a critical service to its community, and they know that we are ready with the best-in-class solutions and knowledge to bring that project to fruition.”
Today, Conexon and Calix are working with seven Mississippi electric power associations (EPAs), which are receiving a combined $30 million in CARES Act grant funding to fast-start FTTH construction in unserved and underserved areas. Customers are scheduled to be connected by the end of 2020. In addition, Conexon continues to work with cooperatives well-positioned to receive federal funding in early 2021. Those projects will also require rapid start and scalability as cooperatives build the networks to bring world-class high-speed internet to their rural communities.
“Building the network is just the start of the customer’s FTTH experience,” Conexon Partner Randy Klindt said. “Reliable access to equipment and electronics is vital for our co-ops to meet their aggressive funding timelines and ensuring a positive customer experience. I’ve worked with Calix since 2011 because of the company’s diverse solution set of hardware, software, management tools and everything else they bring to the table. The company has proven itself to be a leader in producing high-quality, advanced electronics and equipment and we’re confident of its ability to meet our needs as our co-ops work to serve their rural memberships.”
“As one of the original co-ops deploying fiber to the home, we’ve seen significant changes and evolution around FTTH equipment technology since launching nearly 10 years ago,” said Aaron Bradshaw, CEO of Missouri’s Co-Mo-Connect. “We have leveraged Calix from the beginning, and the equipment has demonstrated sustainability and a long asset life. In fact, we still have Calix equipment from our pilot project begun in 2011 providing Gigabit service to members today. That reliability is a tremendous advantage for us with members and our own operations.”
Through partnerships with industry leaders such as Calix, leveraging its buying power, and gaining vendor/material commitments, Conexon has established an infrastructure and ecosystem to ensure cooperatives meet aggressive funding milestones and requirements, and economically deploy fiber in their communities.
“Not many years ago, hardly anyone thought it possible to deliver Gigabit service to rural America,” Conexon Partner Jonathan Chambers said. “And most thought it fanciful that rural America wanted or needed Gigabit service. We started working with those who shared our vision. Calix was one of the companies that believed as we did. Today, where we work, Gigabit service is becoming the norm. And with Calix, we’re already building networks ready for the next generation of fiber optics. We’re not trying to bridge the divide, we intend to leap the divide.”