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Project UNITE: Looking Ahead

Governor Bill Lee meeting United Communications' CEO William Bradford at the January 9th Project Unite celebration.
By William Bradford — CEO of United Communications

Governor Bill Lee meeting United Communications' CEO William Bradford at the January 9th Project Unite celebration.

Project UNITE was launched with a specific goal — to provide high-speed internet service to every underserved home or business in Middle Tennessee. As a local company serving Middle Tennesseans for 75 years, we recognize how important it is for residents and businesses to have a fast and reliable internet connection. Project UNITE is intended to close the digital divide that has left more than one million Tennesseans without access to high-speed internet.

This month, I had the privilege to celebrate the impact that Project UNITE is making with Governor Bill Lee and Stuart McWhorter, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. This celebration event was a chance to recognize the progress that’s been made, share goals on project expansion, and acknowledge the recent $53.4 million ECD grant that will allow us to accelerate our broadband expansion efforts.

You can watch the event in its entirety here:

As we head into another exciting year of Project UNITE, I want to share a few milestones that have been achieved and provide a brief look into our goals for 2023 and beyond.

Celebrating Progress: Impacting Thousands of Community Members

In the past few years, we’ve made tremendous strides in our effort to close the digital divide for Middle Tennesseans. Through Project UNITE, United Communications has:

Brought Service to More Than 17,000 Unserved Locations

By the end of 2022, we have been able to help connect thousands of residents and businesses across Middle Tennessee with the work of Project UNITE. The hard work and dedication of our team has earned United Communications national recognition as an industry leader for our work in rural communities.

Partnered With Local Co-Ops and Government Leaders to Reach More Communities

Through our partnerships with Middle Tennessee Electric and Duck River Electric, we’ve been able to accelerate expansion in a short amount of time. We’ve also partnered with the state of Tennessee to leverage the many great broadband programs established by Governor Lee and his team. By working together, we can deliver the best experience with the most reliable service at the lowest cost, which allows us to take a financially responsible approach.

Completed Projects in 10 Counties Across Middle Tennessee

Through Project UNITE, we’ve been able to serve people in counties across Middle Tennessee including Bedford, Franklin, Giles, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Moore, Rutherford, Williamson, and Wilson. I’m also proud to say that our team worked hard to complete every state project ahead of schedule and under budget.

While we’re proud of the numbers and metrics we’ve been able to achieve, what we value most is the individual lives they represent. Whether it’s the Boys & Girls Club of Bedford County or a family who works from home, we know that our work is making a tangible difference in the lives of real people across the state. If you have a moment, I invite you to read more stories of the impact that’s being made through Project UNITE.

Looking Ahead: Our Commitment to Serving Middle Tennesseans

As we head into 2023, Project UNITE continues to be our most important initiative. There are still tens of thousands of Middle Tennesseans who lack access to broadband internet. Here are a few specific ways the United team and myself are working to achieve the vision that was set for Project UNITE this year:

Connect: We Will Continue to Connect Underserved Communities With Fast, Reliable Internet 

Building the infrastructure required to support fiber internet is a multi-year process that involves engineering, permitting, construction, testing, and installation. We will continue to work towards completing the projects that have been funded and anticipate connecting over 6,000 locations in 2023.

Partner: We Will Continue to Build Relationships and Partnerships With Local Government Officials, Businesses, and Residents to Seek Supporting Grants for Strategic Expansion

Local officials and community members play a key role in our expansion efforts. We partner with local governments to plan fiber infrastructure and field requests from business owners and residents to support these grant efforts. We will continue to educate and equip our community members with the resources they need to gain access to broadband until every Middle Tennessee home and business has been connected.

Serve: We Will Continue to Serve Our Customers With Friendly, Responsive Service

As a local internet service provider, I care about the communities United serves because our customers are also our friends and neighbors. This means our United employees, including our local tech support and local customer support, will continue to work together to provide an exceptional experience for our customers that cannot be matched by national service providers.

Be a Part of Project UNITE

I value and appreciate all of the partnerships that United has built. Much of the Project UNITE progress that has been made is because of government officials like Governor Lee and other state and county representatives who have prioritized this initiative. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past couple of years, it’s that every voice matters. Our most successful projects are the ones that start at a grassroots level.

If you are a community member in need of reliable internet access or you’re a local official looking to spearhead meaningful change in your community, you can be a part of Project UNITE. I’d invite you to learn more about and get involved with Project UNITE.


William Bradford

President and CEO of United Communications

With over 20 years of executive experience in telecommunications management, William Bradford has guided United Communications to become a leading provider of internet, digital TV, and phone services for enterprise-class businesses and residential customers in Middle Tennessee. His passion for bridging the digital divide in rural communities led to Project UNITE, an initiative to provide fast, reliable broadband service to every under-connected home or business in the Tennessee mid-state region. He is the past president of the Tennessee Telecommunications Association and is actively involved in industry trade groups. William graduated with honors from Wake Forest University with a degree in Mathematical Economics. He and his family live in Brentwood, Tennessee.