Conexon to design, construct fiber broadband network to serve rural north Florida communities

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Florida Construction News staff writer

Conexon has been selected by Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) to provide network design, construction project management, engineering, and operations support for the  fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network project. Service will be provided to SVEC members through its fiber subsidiary, Rapid Fiber Internet.

The project, expected to take four years to complete and costing up to $93 million, will span over 4,100 miles of electric line to deliver high-speed fiber internet services to homes and businesses across all of HamiltonLafayette, and Suwannee counties, and northern Columbia County. The goal is to ultimately expand fiber broadband access to all of SVEC’s 28,000+ consumers, if possible. Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2023.

“At Conexon, we believe that access to high-speed internet is an educational and economic equalizer for rural communities. We’re proud to partner with organizations like Suwannee Valley Electric that are committed to improving the lives and communities of those they serve through world-class broadband services,” Conexon Founding Partner Randy Klindt said. “It represents a tremendous commitment from the cooperative that will benefit consumers for generations to come.”

The Rapid Fiber Internet network will provide access to symmetrical (same upload and download speeds) gigabit internet capabilities and enhance smart grid capabilities, enabling improved power outage response times, better load balancing, more efficient electricity delivery.

“Like many other parts of rural America, our area finds itself on the wrong side of the ‘digital divide,’ being underserved or unserved by broadband providers. That’s why we are excited to work closely with a trusted partner like Conexon to bring high-speed internet services to our portion of north Florida,” said Michael S. McWaters, SVEC executive vice president/CEO.

Conexon has designed more than 200,000 miles of fiber, builds more than 50,000 miles of fiber annually, and has connected more than 500,000 rural Americans.

To date, Conexon has assisted more than 275 electric cooperatives, 60 of which are deploying fiber networks, with more than 500,000 rural Americans connected to fiber to the home. The company has secured nearly $2 billion in federal, state and local grants and subsidies for its clients.

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