Bolivar Energy Authority forms partnership to connect customers to fiber network in rural Tennessee

(UI) – Render Networks, a global leader in geospatial network construction technology, and Irby Utilities, a turnkey utility fulfillment and broadband solutions provider announced Bolivar Energy Authority (BEA) leveraged a combined construction and operations solution to move  from deployment to connecting its first customers in just ten weeks.

BEA utilized Render’s geospatial construction technology and Irby Utilities’ project management and material logistics services to expedite the construction and deployment of the West Tennessee fiber network serving 11,300 rural locations.

The demand for connectivity across the state is growing at an exponential rate, with a reported one in six Tennesseans lacking access to broadband. Aeneas Internet and Telephone has partnered independently with both Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation and Bolivar Energy Authority to bring this much needed service to under-served areas across Hardeman County and parts of Fayette, Chester, and Madison counties in Tennessee.

Utilizing funding from the $500 million Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund – American Rescue Plan program announced by the State of Tennessee, BEA began construction in July 2022 and completed 379 miles of the fiber network build by January 2023, with over 4,196 previously unserved locations deployed and fast-tracked for connection.

BEA began deploying fiber as part of a plan to upgrade the Smart Grid communications network for operation of its electric system. In addition to broadband access, BEA will use the communications network to further increase electric reliability for its customers. This project is a win-win for BEA customers – access to affordable high-speed internet while modernizing the electric grid to reduce outage times and operating expenses.

Render’s geospatial construction and unified data capabilities, partnered with Irby’s proven project management and material logistics, enabled BEA to expedite the construction process and optimize both field crew and material resources to deliver the project and connections ahead of schedule. Digital as-built data and workflows show geo-location of completed work enabling greater visibility of resources utilized and progress across unserved locations and completely automating the grant reporting and reimbursement process.

Tony Kirk, CEO of Bolivar Energy Authority, said, “We knew our community needed this fiber network. It would deliver access to digital education, healthcare, and other essential services that are increasingly delivered online. Building a rural fiber network in today’s environment was certain to provide a number of challenges, ranging from funding compliance, materials and labor availability, and more.

“Render and Irby alleviated material and labor concerns and allowed us to expedite the construction process and gain valuable visibility and efficiencies across the project. Real-time data and reporting has significantly streamlined our funding reporting obligations and ensured we are being reimbursed as construction progresses. This technology-led approach and outcomes achieved position us well to attract future broadband funding and deliver high-speed broadband to our entire community faster than planned,” Kirk added.


Related News

From Archive


{{ error }}
{{ comment.comment.Name }} • {{ comment.timeAgo }}
{{ comment.comment.Text }}