Central Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (CGEMC) and Conexon Connect celebrated their inaugural “fiber lighting,” last week connecting Monroe County and Conexon Connect’s first broadband customer on the new fiber network. The ceremony, held on Tuesday, Sept. 28, was attended by state and local elected officials, representatives from Central Georgia EMC, Conexon Connect, and Monroe County residents.
“These tangible results prove that EMCs are walking the walk,” said Public Service Commissioner Bubba McDonald. “In my role as a Commissioner on the Georgia Public Service Commission, we are continuing to foster a regulatory environment that expands broadband access and it’s exciting to see projects like these begin to take shape.”
“I am thankful for the leadership and quick work at Central Georgia EMC, Conexon Connect and at the Monroe County Commission which is making broadband a reality in our area. Rural residents deserve access to the best high-speed internet and with two-gigabit service being offered, that is exactly what they are getting,” said Rep. Susan Holmes.
“Many thanks to Governor Kemp for making this possible through signing 2019’s Senate Bill 2, allowing electric cooperatives to offer broadband services. Thanks also to our board of directors for their vision and confidence; to our legislators for enabling EMCs to be part of the broadband solution; to Monroe County and the Monroe County Board of Education for their financial commitments to support our local efforts; to Conexon Connect for delivering world-class internet to rural Georgia; to the contractors who have helped keep us on schedule; and to the employees of Central Georgia EMC who have worked tirelessly to meet such a demanding schedule,” said Central Georgia EMC President/CEO George Weaver.
“Over the past decade, the federal government created a digital divide in the country, using federal programs to relegate rural America to slower internet speeds. Those decisions had consequences. When rural communities needed online access for work, education, health care, and social interaction, the full impact of those federal policies was felt across the land. There is no good reason for the digital divide,” said Conexon Partner Jonathan Chambers. “Connecting our first customer means we take a small but significant step to repair the damage. We are launching the fastest residential internet access service available anywhere, first in Monroe County, and in the coming months and years, across central Georgia. Together with electric cooperatives and local communities, we will demonstrate what is possible.”
After remarks were shared at the ceremony, a connection speed test demonstrated Conexon Connect’s two gigabits per second (2 Gbps) download speed.
Jeff and Barbara Dean, of Forsyth, will serve as beta customers as Conexon Connect, powered by Central Georgia EMC, expands throughout the county. Over the next few weeks, they will provide routine feedback about their experience with the internet provider’s product. They are among a small group of customers testing the service during the initial rollout.
“Once our service was turned on, we immediately connected everything. We were like kids at Christmas,” said Barbara Dean. “We have been enjoying our Conexon Connect service, and our extended family is more than a little bit jealous. They are anxious to connect, as well.”
Central Georgia EMC began construction on its fiber network in June 2021. The project will span 5,300 miles across 14 counties in the CGEMC territory and is expected to take four years to complete. Connect, powered by Central Georgia EMC, fiber broadband service will expand to additional Monroe County residents by mid-November 2021.
About Conexon Connect
Conexon Connect is the internet services provider (ISP) arm of rural fiber broadband design and construction management leader Conexon. The subsidiary was formed to operate and manage cooperative and investor-owned 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 100% of their members.