MOORE HAVEN — 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.”