Electric co-op Middle Tennessee Electric and ISP United Communications have announced a partnership to expand the availability of high-speed broadband in seven Tennessee counties. The companies expect to be able to deliver the new services without affecting the rates the co-op charges its members for electricity.
“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 Chris Jones, president and CEO of Middle Tennessee Electric. “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.”
The companies expect the expansion, which is already underway, to be a multi-year effort. They say they will start in the areas that demonstrate the highest demand. That includes the fire hall in the community of Peytonsville, which is now receiving gigabit broadband via a fiber connection.
“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, the Peytonsville Volunteer Fire Department’s fire chief.
Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative providing electricity to more than 225,000 residential and business members in Williamson, Wilson, Rutherford, and Cannon counties. The company expects to use the broadband infrastructure to support a smart grid initiative as well as enable smart home services. United Communications, meanwhile, operates a fiber-optic network that includes nearly 1,000 route miles of fiber connecting in Nashville and Murfreesboro and covering portions of Williamson, Marshall, Bedford, Franklin, and Rutherford counties.
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