– WAVE Rural Connect, the wholly-owned fiber subsidiary of Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative Corporation, has secured more than $45 million through the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction to expand its gigabit speed-capable broadband service throughout the co-op’s rural Arkansas territory and surrounding communities.
WAVE, which launched in 2018, currently offers fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) access to more than 45,000 homes in Arkansas Valley Electric’s territory and adjacent areas. The fiber provider will ultimately reach 100% of the co-op’s members.
The RDOF funds will enable WAVE to more quickly build out the network and provide residents with the educational, economic, community and lifestyle benefits of reliable and affordable fiber internet service. WAVE’s deployment will eventually encompass 6,600 miles of fiber.
WAVE’s 100% fiber network offers ultra-fast speeds for both downloading and uploading. This symmetrical speed and the power of fiber allows multiple users and devices at the same time without loss of service quality. This has become a necessity during the pandemic where the needs for reliable broadband – remote learning, working from home, staying connected with loved ones and virtual doctor visits – have become so critical.
“We have seen people leaving rural areas because of the lack of internet service, and that was before the pandemic,” Arkansas Valley Electric CEO Al Simpson said. “The need for reliable broadband is now a widespread critical issue. Without access to high-speed internet, professionals are unable to effectively work from home, children fall behind in remote learning and many are cut off from friends and family. Through WAVE, we are determined to change that one connection at a time. We’re extremely grateful for the RDOF funding as it will have tremendous impact in the lives of rural Arkansas residents.”
Arkansas Valley Electric was a member of the Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium, a bidding entity of over 90 cooperatives coordinated and led by rural fiber-optic network design and construction management leader Conexon to secure RDOF funds. Overall, Conexon’s RECC was awarded over $1.1 billion, enabling electric cooperatives across 22 states to deliver world-class FTTH service to over two million rural Americans. The co-op also participated in the Conexon RECC’s previous generation in 2018’s Connect America Fund (CAF) II auction where it was awarded $4.7 million in broadband funding.
“Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative is a long-time Conexon client and we’re exceptionally pleased with its great success in the RDOF auction,” Conexon Partner Randy Klindt, said. “We’re excited to see the progress the co-op will continue to make in closing the digital divide in Arkansas.”
About Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative Corporation
Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative Corporation is a not-for-profit Corporation headquartered in Ozark, AR. District offices are located in Waldron, Van Buren, AR, and Pocola, OK.
AVECC currently has more than 6,600 miles of distribution lines, 36 electrical substations, and more than 60,000 electric services.
The Cooperative was organized in 1937 by a group of farmers and businessmen from Crawford, Logan and Johnson Counties in west-central Arkansas. It has since expanded to eleven counties in Arkansas and three in Oklahoma.
About WAVE Rural Connect
Wave Rural Connect was created by AVECC in its ongoing efforts to provide sustainable development of the communities it serves. The AVECC fiber infrastructure will allow Wave Rural Connect to provide game-changing broadband internet at lightning-fast speed to every member.
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