On Thursday, May 27, Sac Osage Electric Cooperative announced plans to transform the lives of the 8,700 REA members by providing access to reliable, affordable, high-speed fiber broadband service.
The cooperative selected Conexon Connect, the internet service provider created and managed by rural fiber-optic network design and construction management leader Conexon, to lead the project.
Sac Osage Elective Cooperative General Manager Jim Davis mentioned the effort that the rural population put forth to get electricity when the rural area was ignored by service providers in more populated places.
Davis said, “Eighty years after rural electrification, we are called upon to bridge the digital divide.”
“Without question, fiber broadband will be a gamechanger. The speed, reliability, affordability and attention to customer service that Conexon’s network will provide will change lives from the moment it is deployed. We cannot wait to share that future with every one of our members and watch our communities flourish.”
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler said “We need broadband for education, telemedicine and business.”
The partnership between Sac Osage and Conexon Connect will transform Sac Osage’s rural counties with a world-class fiber- to -the home network and access to Gigabit-speed broadband internet.
The project scope is to provide world-class 2,300 – mile fiber to the home (FTTH) network with a 3-4 year build timeline, with first customers connected first quarter 2022; 8,700 homes and businesses in Henry, Benton, St, Clair, Hickory, Vernon, Cedar, Barton, Polk and Dade will be affected. Total investment is $52 million.
The project opens up new opportunities for a more connected daily life by providing remote learning; convenient telemedicine, work-from-home interoffice connectivity, economic development and growth, improved real estate market and home prices.
The project is already underway with Sac Osage and Conexon Connect teams designing and mapping the network.
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.