Gov. Kemp Applauds Ocmulgee EMC and Conexon Connect Partnership Announcement to Expand Broadband in Central Georgia
Atlanta, GA – Ocmulgee EMC announced plans today to transform life for its members by partnering with Conexon Connect to provide access to reliable, affordable, high-speed fiber broadband service.
"When I ran for Governor in 2018, I promised to bring opportunity to all Georgians, no matter their zip code," said Governor Brian Kemp. "We've seen vast expansions of broadband internet access across rural Georgia, connecting our citizens to a wide network of resources and opening doors. I commend Ocmulgee EMC and Conexon for this exciting public-private partnership and their commitment to creating value for their communities."
Conexon Connect is an internet service provider created and managed by rural fiber-optic network design and construction management leader Conexon. Ocmulgee EMC is teaming up with Conexon Connect to launch and deploy a network that could span up to 2,100 miles of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), providing high-speed internet access to up to 8,000 members in Laurens, Dodge, Bleckley, Pulaski and Telfair counties in central Georgia. Made possible by a $19 million grant funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, the ultimate goal of the project will be to provide all of Ocmulgee EMC’s membership with fiber internet, dependent on funding availability. Breaking ground in September of 2022, the first customers are expected to be connected in early 2023 with project completion estimated at 2-4 years.
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.
"Broadband access is essential," said Congressman Austin Scott. "My colleagues and I have worked for years to help provide access for underserved areas and I applaud the Governor’s office, the EMCs, and the companies that are investing in communities here in Georgia’s 8th District and across the state."
"It’s great to see another EMC helping to bring broadband to rural Georgia," said PSC Commissioner Jason Shaw. "Broadband connectivity is crucial for providing all Georgians access to a 21st century economy and I’m proud of the work that our Public Service Commission has done to expand access."
"I’m thrilled for the members of Ocmulgee EMC who got some great news with today’s announcement," said State Sen. Larry Walker III. "The Senate has made expanding broadband access across our state a top priority and it’s exciting to see projects like this happening in middle Georgia."
"Our community deserves access to the tools that help our residents and businesses successfully participate in today’s economy," said State Rep. Danny Mathis. "Thanks to Ocmulgee EMC and Conexon Connect for working hard to ensure our area isn’t left behind."
"Ocmulgee EMC members deserve access to high-speed internet. Our cooperative is pleased to partner with Conexon Connect to make it possible for our members to have broadband at last," said W.H. Peacock, General Manager of Ocmulgee EMC.
"One year ago, Conexon started constructing our first Connect project in Georgia. By the fall, we had launched the first 2 Gigabit service in rural Georgia," Conexon Partner Jonathan Chambers said. "With the addition of the Ocmulgee EMC fiber network, Conexon will be building 200 miles a week in the state, making service available to previously unserved rural Georgia at a pace of 1,000 to 2,000 homes a week. I know there are others building in Georgia, but there’s a difference between these Connect projects and nearly all the others. These networks are owned by the people we serve. The funding support provided by the state is money that goes back to the people who live here. I expect the Ocmulgee EMC network, like the other EMC projects, will become a model for the rest of the state and the nation."
About Ocmulgee EMC
Ocmulgee EMC was founded in 1938 in middle Georgia. From the moment the first members were connected, Ocmulgee has upheld the promise to bring connection to rural areas of its community. Ocmulgee EMC has made it possible for rural families within its service territory to enjoy a higher standard of living by following the same vision and motivation of the founders who brought electricity more than 80 years ago. Today, Ocmulgee EMC has more than 8,000 members and has energized more than 2,100 miles of power lines. The lines span over Laurens, Bleckley, Dodge, Pulaski, and Telfair counties.
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. Connect today is partnering with multiple cooperatives in Colorado, Florida, Georgia and Missouri.