Conexon, CommScope team on rural FTTH

Sept. 17, 2020
A new collaboration between the long-time fiber infrastructure suppliers aims to aid successful deployment of FTTH networks within federal and state funding, timing, and scale requirements.

Rural fiber-optic network design and construction management specialist Conexon and global fiber-optic infrastructure expert CommScope announced that they are now delivering fiber-optic cable and connectivity products for electric cooperatives working to close the "digital divide."

Specifically, the two companies announced they are are working with seven Mississippi electric power associations (EPAs) receiving a combined $30 million in CARES Act grant funding to fast-start FTTH [fiber to the home] construction in unserved and underserved areas. Customers are scheduled to be connected by the end of 2020.

"CommScope shares Conexon's commitment to closing the digital divide, and our ongoing collaboration offers extensive fiber-optic resources for rural networks all around the country," said James DeCoe, vice president, Network Fiber Connectivity, CommScope. DeCoe added, "In particular, our end-to-end portfolio—from fiber-optic cabling to network connectivity solutions and services—provides a unique advantage to cooperatives building out their networks."

In addition to the Mississippi projects, Conexon continues to work with cooperatives well-positioned to receive federal funding in early 2021. Those projects will also require rapid scale-ups as cooperatives build out networks to bring world-class high-speed internet to their rural communities.

"Conexon specifies CommScope fiber products and our growing relationship expands the range of available solutions in our FTTH construction ecosystem," added Conexon Partner Randy Klindt. "Our history with CommScope goes back several years, to a time when fiber was very hard to obtain, with some network operators struggling with lead times as long as a year. That was never the case for us. CommScope always provided our clients materials without delay and ensured our projects never experienced fiber shortages. Their team's dependability will be even more crucial as we anticipate federal funding opportunities with tight deadlines and do our part to ensure that rural Americans gain broadband parity with the rest of the nation."

The partners note that multiple state and federal funding initiatives aimed at expanding broadband availability across rural America are driving an increasing number of fiber-optic deployment projects. Within that landscape, Conexon and CommScope say the companies' long history of complementary fiber expertise "offers a steady and reliable supply of top-tier fiber-optic solutions that enables cooperatives to meet the accelerated milestones and timelines required for funding."

 "The combination of CommScope and Conexon has been a tremendous asset to the outstanding success of OEC Fiber's FTTH business since our launch," OEC Fiber president David Goodspeed asserted. "Both organizations are integral to our success and truly understand our goals and business needs. CommScope has shown a commitment and innovation not just in providing excellent materials, but also in helping us deploy FTTH as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible."

By building relationships with industry leaders such as CommScope, leveraging buying power, and gaining vendor/material commitments—Conexon says it has established an infrastructure and ecosystem to ensure cooperatives meet aggressive funding milestones and requirements, and economically deploy fiber in their communities.

"We expect that the broadband needs of rural America will require the construction of over two million miles of fiber-optic cable over the coming decade," concluded Conexon partner Jonathan Chambers, who added:

"The success of our co-op clients has only reinforced for us an unwavering objective—world-class connectivity for every home and business in every rural community. This is the next great endeavor for rural electric co-ops all across the country. It takes the commitment of companies like CommScope, as well as manufacturers of electronics, construction crews, co-op financial institutions and, at the center of it all, the co-op staff, board and members. We're proud to play our role in pulling the pieces together."