United Communications and Middle Tennessee Electric hosted state leaders and Rutherford County residents at a June 10 event in Eagleville to celebrate progress made through their Project UNITE initiative.
Supported by a $1.3 Million TN ECD Grant, MTE and United committed to bring fiber broadband to unserved areas of Eagleville and Rutherford County in a project that has since grown to over $4 million and over 100 miles of new fiber infrastructure to bring new service to over 1,400 locations.
At the June 10 event, United, a subsidiary of Middle Tennessee Electric, celebrated receiving $7 million in grants from the state over the past year. The funds are helping to advance United’s Project UNITE mission to bring high-speed internet to rural homes and small businesses in Middle Tennessee. The state presented United with a check for over $5.2 million from the previously announced Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund, a second check for nearly $800,000 for a TN Broadband Accessibility Grant to expand fiber service in Marshall and Bedford Counties, and a third check for $1.3 million for the TN Broadband Accessibility Grant which will support the Eagleville project.
“The state is proud to support providers like United Communications. They’ve done their due diligence and know what communities need,” said Crystal Ivey, Broadband Director at Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development. “United wants to help even though they know that it’s probably not going to be a lucrative deal for them. That’s where state funding comes into play. It takes money, but it also takes a provider willing to do the job,” said Ivey.
The Eagleville project is partially funded by state grants as well as matching investments by United Communications. Project UNITE has made a significant impact on the local economy and bringing broadband to unserved Tennesseans. Since 2020, United has been awarded over $12 million in state and federal grants and will add approximately $10 million of its own funding to connect and serve over 5,000 Tennesseans in the Middle Tennessee area.
“Laying fiber is expensive, and the cost presents a real challenge. But United is committed to making the financial investment it takes to connect our local communities to a service everyone needs and deserves,” said William Bradford, President and CEO of United Communications.
Project UNITE continually works to leverage state and federal funding, community partnerships, and other opportunities to create a more connected Middle Tennessee. At Thursday’s event in Eagleville, United Communications also presented a $1,000 check to the Eagleville High School Theater Department for hosting the event and to support local school programs. United is also sponsoring the Rutherford Library Lively Evening, an event benefiting the Eagleville Library.
With the rapid growth of internet customers and Project UNITE accomplishing milestone results in 2020 and 2021, United Communications is focused on the future.
“We continue to see what a difference high-speed internet can make in the quality of life of our Middle Tennessee members. We will continue to support Project UNITE, and I look forward to advancing our area’s broadband infrastructure even further,” said Chris Jones, President and CEO of MTE.
Since 1947, United Communications has built a reputation on quality communication services in Middle Tennessee and is one of the first companies in this region to introduce a fiber-to-the-home network. With offices in Chapel Hill and Berry Farms in Franklin, United Communications is a locally-operated company offering residential and business services, including internet, phone, and digital TV. Learn more about United Communications and this initiative by visiting www.projectunitetn.net.