Joint Project To Bring Broadband Internet To Underserved Areas In Tennessee

Posted: October 3, 2018


Peytonsville, a small Tennessee community not far from Franklin, is among the first to benefit from a partnership to bring broadband internet to underserved areas in the state.

Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Cooperative and United Communications combined their resources and decades of experience to offer affordable, high-speed internet services. The two organizations, along with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, announced the plan in August at the Peytonsville Volunteer Fire Hall.

Now, the fire hall has access to a gigabit-speed fiber network, which will enhance firehouse operations, improve mission-critical communication systems and offer many other benefits.

“Our community relies on well-trained volunteers to provide superior emergency services,” says Brian Jones, Peytonsville Fire Chief. “Reliable broadband access has allowed us to incorporate multimedia instruction into a well-rounded training program for our firefighters.”

The effort from Middle Tennessee Electric and United Communications is the first of its kind in the state, combining the efforts and resources of both an electric and a communications company to bring broadband to underserved areas.

Middle Tennessee Electric provides electricity to more than 225,000 residential and business members. The company serves Cannon, Rutherford, Williamson and Wilson counties. United serves Bedford, Franklin, Marshall, Rutherford and Williamson counties.

United Communications offers internet, digital TV and phone services in Middle Tennessee, providing close to 1,000 route-miles of fiber.

The partnership allows both organizations to build a world-class broadband network at the lowest possible cost. “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,” says Chris Jones, president and CEO of Middle Tennessee Electric.

Jones says United Communications is the ideal partner. “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,” Jones says.
“We are grateful to Gov. Bill Haslam, the Tennessee legislature and the Federal Communications Commission for paving the way for local providers like Middle Tennessee Electric to meet broadband access needs of our members,” Jones says.

The partnership is about two local companies, who share common values, working together to provide a broadband solution for the area, says William Bradford, president and CEO of United Communications. “Ultimately, this will be great for economic development, support smart grid and smart home technologies, and improve the quality of life in Middle Tennessee,” Bradford says.