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Conexon and Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative join forces to launch broadband network to serve nearly 100,000 rural Tennessee homes and businesses

KANSAS CITY, Mo., June 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Conexon, the nation's leader in partnering with electric membership cooperatives to deploy broadband networks, is joining forces with Tennessee-based Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative (CEMC) to deploy a fiber-to-the-home network spanning five counties to serve 100 percent of the co-op's members.  Conexon has been selected to serve as CEMC's strategic partner for the overall project in a construction management and fiber design role.

Conexon (PRNewsfoto/Conexon)

CEMC is partnering with Conexon for its broadband deployment and, with nearly 100,000 meters, it is one of the largest electric cooperatives to move forward with a fiber-to-the-home project. Under the auspices of a newly-formed subsidiary, Cumberland Connect, the co-op launched the six-year, $197 million project in early summer 2019.  Cumberland Connect's fiber-to-the-home network will encompass over 5,000 miles and offer high-speed internet, phone and TV services to all its members.

"Cumberland Electric is a progressive co-op, committed to providing services like broadband that enrich the lives and communities of all its members," said Conexon Partner Randy Klindt. "That true cooperative spirit is a philosophy we share and we are extremely proud to have been selected as CEMC's strategic partner."

The Conexon and CEMC relationship started in 2018, when Conexon provided an initial feasibility study that validated the business potential for the network build-out. The company was subsequently selected as strategic partner based on the breadth of experience and expertise of its team.

"Conexon has a level of experience and expertise no one else did," said CEMC General Manager Chris Davis. "That's something we need. This is quite a different business for us and the fact that Conexon brings the 'whole package' was what sold us. Our focus is on member service and that's a focus we know Conexon shares."

Conexon will design Cumberland Connect's network using its industry-leading Rural Fiber Distribution Design Platform. This completely customizable technology enables Conexon to design the co-op's entire network quickly, efficiently and accurately, and position it to accommodate for growth.  Conexon will also serve in the construction management role, provide marketing and customer service training support and help the co-op in securing available state and federal broadband funding.

"Electric co-ops are the center of our universe," said Conexon Partner Jonathan Chambers. "For us, that means a 'partner' role doesn't start and stop with the build-out of a network. We understand the magnitude of these projects and believe it's our mission to offer support at every step to make the network a reality – finding the right vendors and contractors, tapping into available funding, navigating the regulatory environment and helping market to members. We're looking forward to a long and positive relationship with Cumberland Electric."

About Conexon
Conexon works with Rural Electric Cooperatives to bring fiber to the home in rural communities. The company is comprised of professionals who have worked for electric cooperatives and the telecommunications industry, and offer decades of individual experience in business planning, building networks, marketing and selling telecommunications. Conexon offers its electric cooperative clients end-to-end broadband deployment and operations support, from a project's conception all the way through to its long-term sustainability. It works with clients to analyze economic feasibility, secure financing, design the network, manage construction, provide operational support, optimize business performance and determine optimal partnerships. To date, Conexon has assisted nearly 100 electric cooperatives, over 30 of which are constructing fiber networks, with more than 60,000 co-op members connected across the U.S., and secured more than $200 million in federal and state grants for its clients.

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