Gov. Kemp Announces Flint Energies and Conexon Connect Partnership to Expand Broadband to 31,000 in Nine Middle Georgia Counties
Atlanta, GA – Today, Governor Kemp announced a newly-formed partnership between Reynolds-based Flint Energies and Conexon Connect to deliver fiber broadband to 31,000 underserved and unserved homes and businesses in Crawford, south Houston, Macon, Marion, Muscogee, Peach, Schley, Talbot, and Taylor counties.
"Today is another milestone in the ongoing effort to bring broadband to unserved and underserved customers in rural Georgia," said Governor Brian Kemp. "I thank Flint Energies, Conexon Connect, and the state and local leaders who are partnering to make this transformational project possible. We’re showing that Georgia is continuing to lead the nation in developing collaborative, innovative, and fiscally conservative approaches to leveraging funding to positively impact and serve our citizens."
Together, Flint Energies and Connect will launch and deploy a 3,000-mile fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network in middle Georgia. This $90 million project is made possible through recently announced American Rescue Plan grant funds of $25 million, $7.5 million FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Funds, and significant investments by Flint Energies and Connect. Work on the project will begin immediately, with estimated completion in 2026.
"As Chairman of the Public Service Commission, we have taken a leading role in helping with efforts to expand rural broadband around the state," said Public Service Commissioner Tricia Pridemore. "Connectivity is essential for Georgia’s ratepayers, and I applaud Flint Energies and Conexon on this exciting project."
"I’m grateful for Flint Energies’ investment in our communities and for bringing true broadband to portions of their service area that have lacked access for far too long," State Senator Larry Walker said. "Flint has served middle Georgia for over 85 years and with this announcement, the co-op has once again shown its commitment to members. By bringing high-speed internet to, heretofore, overlooked areas, rural households, farms, churches and businesses will be able to enjoy the benefits of connectivity to today’s online world. This is a game changer."
"As former board member of Flint Energies, I know firsthand the commitment that our state’s EMCs have to the communities they serve," said State Representative Robert Dickey. "The House has worked tirelessly on the issue of connecting all Georgians and I’m excited to see that hard work beginning to pay off."
Flint Energies CEO Jeremy Nelms stated: "This project accomplishes two goals. The system will deliver immediate benefits such as improved power outage response times, better load balancing, and more efficient power delivery, ensuring that Flint will be able to support its rural members’ electrical needs for another 85+ years. Secondly, and of equal importance, the fiber system provides an opportunity to help meet the critical need of high-speed broadband for rural Flint members who have been waiting for adequate service."
"Today’s announcement marks Connect’s seventh project working with Georgia EMCs to deliver fiber-to-the-home internet service to their members," Conexon Connect CEO Randy Klindt said. "The collaboration amongst Georgia’s cooperatives and their shared mission of improving the lives and communities of those they serve is inspiring to all of us at Conexon. We’re excited to work with Jeremy and his team as they move forward."
The partnership between Flint Energies and Connect is made possible by Senate Bill 2 passed in 2019, which allows electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) including Flint Energies, to provide broadband services or leverage EMC infrastructure in other ways to aid deployment of broadband. Including Flint Energies, 20 EMCs in Georgia are currently providing high-speed internet or partnering with a provider to expand broadband service in rural communities across the state. Collectively, these projects represent a $770 million investment and will impact more than 282,000 Georgians in 89 counties.
About Flint Energies
Celebrating its 85th year of service in 2022, Flint Energies is a not-for-profit electric cooperative owned by its Members in parts of 17 central Georgia counties. Flint employs nearly 230 employees and serves nearly 95,000 electric meters. We are 100% locally controlled and democratically governed by nine Directors elected from among the membership. In 1937, Flint Energies was created to bring people together to meet common needs like reliable electric energy, and our mission remains focused on improving the quality of life in Middle Georgia.
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 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 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 their members. In partnership with Georgia EMCs, Connect will deliver fiber internet access to approximately 188,400 rural homes and businesses across the state.