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Fiber to arrive sooner than expected

In February, Southern Rivers Energy (SRE) announced its partnership with Conexon Connect to build a fiber network alongside its electric distribution system to bring high-speed internet services to SRE members. Since then, staff on both sides have been working diligently on the network design, engineering and establishing roles for the project.’¨SRE staff recently attended a fiber network kick-off and planning meeting at Conexon’s headquarters in Kansas City, with department-specific discussions about each phase of the construction process.’¨ ’We have a Conexon Connect Construction Project Manager on-site and right now, he is riding through the territory in Phase 1 to compare the fiber network design with our physical electric system and make any necessary changes to the fiber design. We are in the earliest stage of make -ready engineering, which includes identifying poles that need to be replaced and trimming trees and vegetation that may interfere with electric and fiber lines,’ says SRE Director of Marketing/Member Services Erin Cook. ‘The construction schedule is divided into two phases, with multiple zones in each phase. These zones include the substation and every connecting circuit. Now that we have the design, Conexon is confident SRE’s 2,150 miles of fiber will be completed within about three years, compared to the initial estimate of 4-5 years for Southern Rivers Energy’s and Central Georgia EMC’s projects combined.”¨ The fiber network design is following the existing electrical infrastructure. Where power lines are overhead, the fiber will attach to the poles; wherever SRE has underground service, the fiber will be installed underground.’¨Fiber construction crews start at the substations and work their way outward following each circuit. They build it, splice it, test it and then release it. Once a circuit has been tested and released, Conexon Connect will begin contacting members in that area to subscribe. SRE members who sign up for fiber internet service while construction crews are in the area will not pay a connection fee, regardless of the distance from their house to the road. ‘¨ ’The main thing everyone wants to know is when fiber internet service will be available in their neighborhood. Although we have an estimated timeline, the actual start date depends on when we finish the make-ready engineering and construction,’ said Cook. ‘Right now, we plan to start make-ready construction for the areas served by the Tobesofkee substation in late June or early July. While we are still months away from beginning the actual fiber construction, Connect anticipates connecting the first customers in Phase 1 this fall, barring any weather events or other factors that could delay make ready and/or fiber construction.” ”¨For regular updates on construction progress, pre-registration and installations, visit or follow Southern Rivers Energy and Connect, Powered by Southern Rivers Energy on Facebook.”

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