FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.,- Conexon, a company committed to partnering with electric membership cooperatives to bring fiber to the home in rural communities, today announced the addition of broadband mapping pioneer and innovator Michael Byrne to its leadership team. Byrne serves as vice president for Information Technology.
Byrne brings a wealth of expertise to Conexon and its electric co-op clients, with more than 25 years of geospatial design, analysis and implementation experience in the private and public sectors. He served as the first Geographic Information Officer for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a role in which he led the creation of the first-ever National Broadband Map, an interactive and searchable online map showing broadband availability nationwide, in many cases in block-by-block detail.
This game-changing tool produced a never-before-available clear and accurate picture of the national broadband footprint – where providers offered broadband technologies such as dsl, cable and fiber, along with available speeds. Just as important, the map also revealed broadband gaps, an invaluable resource for the FCC in accurately determining the locations without providers or technology to deliver broadband. Byrne’s work in this area helped form the foundation of the Connect America Fund (CAF) and enhanced the collective understanding of where investments were needed to fulfill a connected America vision. He was awarded a Service to America Medal, the highest award given to government employees, for his work.
Byrne also served as the first Geospatial Information Officer for the state of California. He is a former member of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee and board of directors member for the National States GIS Council.
Byrne’s addition to the Conexon team will bolster the company’s efforts as it moves forward with its co-op clients in deploying broadband to rural areas. Conexon represented the Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium (RECC), the single largest Gigabit winning bidder in the FCC’s recent CAF Phase II auction. This consortium of member-owned co-ops will be awarded $186 million over a 10-year period to build fiber-to-the-home networks capable of gigabit speeds to more than 66,000 locations across rural America from Virginia to Oregon.
“Our success in the recent CAF auction is validation that broadband deployed by electric co-ops is the most viable, cost-effective and realistic solution to deliver on our vision of fiber to every rural home,” said Randy Klindt, partner at Conexon. “Mike’s addition to our leadership team furthers our vision.”
“The technology industry has given up on rural America and has devolved to second-rate and third-rate services for rural homes and businesses. We’re committed to using technology to find the fastest and most efficient ways to deploy fiber to the home, providing residents with the same quality of service available in larger, more densely populated areas,” added Jonathan Chambers, partner at Conexon. “Mike’s unique combination of geospatial, technology and broadband mapping expertise will help ensure the success of our clients.”