Industry data indicates that roughly 18 percent of Tennesseans live in areas with no access to broadband Internet. On December 10, TVPPA member Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (Columbia, Tenn.) announced a partnership with United Communications to address this pressing need by expanding broadband access to underserved areas across its Middle Tennessee service area.

Through their collaboration with United, a subsidiary of Middle Tennessee Electric (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), via ProjectUNITE, DREMC can build upon its existing fiber backbone to expedite the delivery of high-speed internet to areas of need. ProjectUNITE was launched by United Communications to help connect unserved homes and businesses in rural communities via partnerships with local governments, stakeholders or other companies to deliver the high-speed broadband access communities need to support career development, telemedicine, and social engagement opportunities.

The announcement was made by Scott Spence, President and CEO of DREMC, and William Bradford, President and CEO of United Communications, in conjunction with Chris Jones, President and CEO of MTE, at the DREMC Office in Columbia, Tenn., on December 10, 2021.

“DREMC is proud to be part of the solution to the internet needs of members in underserved areas. The first step in this journey began in 2018 with the initial work needed to develop a 386-mile fiber backbone that allows DREMC to better serve members and provide important infrastructure for established internet providers to utilize,” said Spence. “Today, we are excited to partner with United Communications to further leverage what DREMC has built for the benefit of the members we serve. This is a key step in being part of the solution to deliver reliable, competitively priced internet with a focus on customer care.”