Fiber internet expansion may be coming soon

Published 9:00 am Friday, April 14, 2023

Change may be coming deep in the belly of rural Lincoln County. That’s what a company called Conexon hopes as it tries to bring more fiber internet connectivity to this area, where rural homes can barely get mobile phone service, much less high-speed internet.

Leslye Krampe told the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors April 3 that the company she represented, Conexon, was in communicative meetings with local rural electric cooperatives to work together to bring fiber to more areas of the county.

“We are attempting to bring fiber to homes in Lincoln County,” Krampe told the board. “We build about 15,000 miles of fiber a year.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“Conexon is currently in talks with 275 co-ops in the country and actively working on feasibility studies with about 85 of them. Conexon is only working in rural areas, and that’s why we working mainly with co-ops.”

She said they work on feasibility studies to discuss how to ensure every member of the co-op is served with fiber internet.

“We don’t leave anyone out,” she added. “We don’t care if it’s two miles down a dirt road by themselves, we get fiber to them.”

GIS data runs the feasibility studies, which is why Conexon must work with willing co-ops.

“It is a benefit for co-ops to have fiber internet in the area, too, because all their substations can communicate faster,” among other things, she said.

Conexon’s motto is “helping electric co-ops build fiber networks” to “connect rural America to true broadband access to the internet.” Founded by partners Randy Klindt and Jonathan Chambers, Conexon has assisted 200 electric cooperatives and helped connect more than 500,000 fiber-to-the-home subscribers across the country. In 2021, the company launched its internet service provider subsidiary, Conexon Connect, to operate and manage cooperative investor-owned fiber-to-the-home networks. It currently operates in Colorado, Florida, Georgia and Missouri.

“I say there are unserved, underserved and unhappily served,” Krampe said. “According to the FCC’s definition of being ‘served,’ you can download a two-hour HD movie and it would take you 34 minutes and 24 seconds if you had 25 megabits per second download. If you have 100 megabits per second download service, which is better than 25, it’s still going to take about eight minutes and 36 seconds to download that movie. If you had a gigabit service, it’s going to take 51 seconds and if you had two gigabit service, it would take about 26 seconds.”

Addition to the fast speeds Conexon would provide, the affordability should be considered, she said. “When we are the ISP — the internet service provider — we’d offer three services: The basic package is 100 megabits per second for $49.95 a month. The medium tier we have is one-gigabit service and that’s $79.95. And then two-gigabit service is $99.99. The download and upload speeds would be the same. You can also get phone service for $29.95.”

According to the Mississippi Broadband website, Lincoln County is 75.08 percent “underserved.” That’s why Conexon wants to work with co-ops to extend fiber internet to every home.

“If we can work with the co-operatives, we can cover a lot more territory,” she said.

Krampe showed supervisors maps from Broadband Mississippi’s website ( that showed the number of unserved areas Conexon plans to cover, which are shown in purple. Out of a population of 36,244, Lincoln County has 14,410 households in 16,894 housing units. A bit more than 73 percent have an internet subscription, but this is in populated areas.

Supervisors asked how talks were going with co-ops and Krampe said they are communicating, but nothing has been settled yet. She said she would keep them updated on how things were going.