NASHVILLE – Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. and United Communications announced Friday a partnership to expand broadband access to underserved areas in Wilson and six other counties in Tennessee.
The partnership allows the two organizations to combine their resources and experience to offer affordable high-speed internet services to members and customers in the coming years and improve quality of life for those in the areas they serve.
The partnership will focus on Middle Tennessee Electric members while United continues expansion projects in its existing service area. Middle Tennessee Electric currently serves Cannon, Rutherford, Williamson and Wilson counties. United serves Bedford, Franklin, Marshall, Rutherford and Williamson counties.
Chris Jones, president and CEO of Middle Tennessee Electric, and William Bradford, president and CEO of United Communications, made the announcement Friday in conjunction with Bob Rolfe, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner, at the Peytonsville Volunteer Fire Department in Rutherford County.
The initiative is already underway, and full implementation will be a multi-year process. Based on input from the community, the partnership will prioritize implementation in areas with the highest demand. It allows both organizations to build a world-class smart grid in the region at the lowest possible cost without an impact to Middle Tennessee Electric members’ electric rates.
“We’re proud to be the first electric cooperative to pursue a partnership of this kind in Tennessee and answer the calls we have long heard from our members. They want and need access to broadband service,” said Jones. “United Communications is the ideal partner for us. They have already built an impressive fiber backbone throughout many areas we serve, which will allow us to work together to more rapidly and cost effectively expand internet services.
“We are grateful to Gov. Haslam, our Tennessee legislature and the FCC for paving the way for local providers like Middle Tennessee Electric to meet the broadband access needs of our members.”
Bradford said, “This partnership is about two local companies, who share common values, working together to provide a broadband solution for our area. Ultimately, this will be great for economic development, support smart grid and smart home technologies and improve quality of life in Middle Tennessee.”
The Peytonsville fire hall is in the center of an area that has requested broadband for more than 17 years and recently received gigabit speed fiber, which will enhance firehouse operations and improve mission critical communication systems, among other benefits.
“Our community relies on well-trained volunteers to provide superior emergency services. Reliable broadband access has allowed us to incorporate multimedia instruction into a well-rounded training program for our firefighters,” said Brian Jones, Peytonsville Volunteer Fire Department fire chief.
Middle Tennessee Electric customers can register to receive updates on the expansion plan and determine if they are already in a United service area at service.united.net.
Additional information on the partnership may be found at united.net/mtemc.
Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. is a member-owned nonprofit electric cooperative that provides electricity to more than 225,000 residential and business members in Williamson, Wilson, Rutherford and Cannon counties. For more information, visit mtemc.com.
United Communications is a leading provider of internet, digital television and phone services to enterprise-class businesses and residential customers in Middle Tennessee. United Communications network includes close to 1,000 route miles of fiber that connects in Nashville and Murfreesboro and covers portions of Williamson, Marshall, Bedford, Franklin and Rutherford counties. To learn more, visit united.net.