Regional provider United Communications says it will invest $85 million to reach 77,000 members of the Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) electric cooperative in Murfreesboro, TN. United Communications is the broadband unit of MTE.
The multi-year project will add 1,400 route miles of fiber and be capable of providing multi-gigabit service to residential and business customers. The initiative is expected to add about 150 jobs in the area. An additional office will open in the city by the end of this year.
United Communications also will partner with the Murfreesboro Housing Authority to provide free Internet service to qualifying households.
“We’ve already completed phase one in the Boro, which includes our fiber backbone and service to more than 1,000 homes and businesses,” United Communications President and CEO William Bradford said at the Middle Tennessee Electric annual meeting on August 26.
“As part of phase one, we also built fiber to the square in downtown Murfreesboro. It was a privilege to put our fiber infrastructure to work by connecting our neighbors in disadvantaged communities and adding resiliency to the local emergency communications network.”
At the meeting, Bradford said that cost savings from smart grid deployments, growing demand for enterprise-level symmetrical services and the emergence of quantum networking are among the reasons that fiber investments will bring long-term benefits.
Murfreesboro is the seat of Rutherford County. United Communications already has invested more than $30 million in the county. This includes a project to provide access to 18,000 addresses in Smyrna and connect the Rutherford County Emergency Communications District, the next-generation 911 provider.
In January, United Communications, Middle Tennessee Electric and Duck River Electric launched Project UNITE. The goal is to provide fiber or wireless connectivity to underserved locations in mid Tennessee.
The United Telephone Company got grants of more than $53.3 million from the state of Tennessee last September. The United Telephone Company operates as United Communications.