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Electricity cooperatives create a new wholesale broadband provider | New

JONESBORO – A collective of more than a dozen electric co-ops in Arkansas have joined together to announce the formation of Diamond State Networks, a new wholesale broadband provider uniting the fiber optic networks of member co-ops across the ‘State.

Having recently opened its first official headquarters in Jonesboro, Diamond State Networks is led by co-directing members Mitchell Johnson (President and CEO of Ozarks Electric) and Jeremiah Sloan (President and CEO of Craighead Electric) .

The organization is governed by a Board of Directors made up of other executive leaders from its 13 partner cooperatives or subsidiary fiber networks.

Arkansas Electric Co-operatives have been bringing electricity to their communities since the 1930s. Diamond State Networks (DSN)’s goal is to reinforce that commitment by providing high-speed broadband connections, the next essential, wireless service. doubt the most powerful bridge of socio-economic divisions.

Promising to further improve connectivity throughout Arkansas with a network covering more than 64% of the state’s landmass and more than 50,000 miles of fiber lines, DSN provides access to 1.25 million Arkansans rural.

Together, the 13 electricity cooperatives have invested, or plan to invest, more than $1.66 billion in broadband communications infrastructure, exclusively in fiber optic networks.

The unique alliance recently held its first conference on May 23-24 in Hot Springs, where members of the Partner Networks team discussed the current state of DSN, attended various breakout sessions and panel discussions, walked through vendor exhibits and took part in general sessions that included a CEO. round table as well as a session focusing on public-private partnerships.

“By bringing these networks together, we’re investing to build an in-between network for long-term, far-reaching accessibility and delivering high-performance connectivity to every corner of our state,” said Mitchell Johnson, Diamond’s co-directing member. State networks.

Partner entities that make up DSN include: empower, Jonesboro-based Delivered by Craighead Electric; MCEC Fibre, based in Blytheville; Corning-based Clay County Connect; Farmers Electric Cooperative, based in Newport; Fayetteville-based OzarksGo; Petit Jean Fibre, based in Clinton; Lit by Woodruff Electric, headquartered in Forrest City; NEXT Powered by NAEC, headquartered in Salem; Wave Rural Connect, based in Ozark; Arkansas Fiber Network (AFN), the statewide association of Arkansas’ 17 electric utility cooperatives; Four States Fiber Internet, headquartered in Texarkana; South Central Connect, based in Arkadelphia; and Jacksonville-based Connect2First.