Glades Electric & Conexon Awarded $5 Million Florida Broadband Opportunity Grant
Glades Electric Cooperative and Conexon Connect will leverage broadband awards to bring world-class high-speed fiber internet to rural Floridians
MOORE HAVEN, Fla., Feb. 16, 2023 – Glades Electric Cooperative announced it has received $5,000,000 through Florida’s Broadband Opportunity Grant Program to expand access to broadband internet for Florida’s underserved communities.
The co-op is partnering with rural internet service provider Conexon Connect to deploy FTTH services to more than 4,231 unserved locations in Glades, Hendry, and Highlands Counties with symmetrical download and upload speeds of between 1GB and 2GB.
The award encompasses Glades Electric service areas in Clewiston, Moore Haven, Pioneer, Montura, Big Cypress, Lakeport, Ortona, Palmdale, Port LaBelle and Venus.
Glades Electric is partnering with Connect to launch and deploy a nearly 2,600-mile fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network. The Connect, powered by Glades Electric Cooperative, network will deliver reliable, affordable high-speed internet service to homes and businesses in the co-op’s service area with the goal of expanding fiber broadband access to all of its approximately 13,600 members.
Glades Electric’s nearly $50 million network is expected to be completed within three years. The fiber-optic network will offer members access to symmetrical (same upload and download speeds) multi-gigabit internet capabilities – among the fastest and most robust in the nation.
“Over the past several years, I’ve heard people analogize rural broadband to the rural electrification movement of the 1930s and 1940s,” Conexon Partner Jonathan Chambers said. “To us, it isn’t an analogy; it’s a reality. The same companies that built electric networks across the state are building broadband networks. After decades of failure by the telephone and cable industries, electric co-ops in Florida are stepping up and stepping in to solve the digital divide. We’re proud to join Glades Electric Cooperative in this endeavor.”
About Glades Electric Cooperative
Glades Electric Cooperative was formed in 1945 to serve residents of Florida’s rural heartland who had been left behind in the electrification of Florida. Today, Glades Electric provides power to more than 17,000 accounts over 2,600 miles of line in portions of Glades, Hendry, Highlands and Okeechobee 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, Kentucky and Missouri.
Conexon works with Rural Electric Cooperatives to bring fiber to the home in rural communities. The company is comprised of professionals who have worked in 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 more than 275 electric cooperatives, 75 of which are deploying fiber networks, with more than 500,000 rural Americans connected to fiber to the home. The company has secured nearly $2 billion in federal, state and local grants and subsidies for its clients.