Rick Jurosky, Chief Technology Officer at United Communications, is devoted to connecting people no matter where they are. An engineer by training, he’s built a 30-year career making sure those connections are fast, reliable, and accessible.
This month, we sat down with Rick to discuss his role as the head architect of United’s award-winning network in Middle Tennessee.
Rick began his career in Pennsylvania as an engineer in the telephone industry when deregulation drove competitive prices and more options for consumers nationwide. Today, Rick plays a pivotal role in providing access and affordability for United customers throughout Middle Tennessee, especially for Tennesseans who’ve been missing out.
In Tennessee, approximately 1.27 million people, or 18.6 percent of the state’s population, live in broadband deserts. And nearly half of all Tennesseans lack access to internet service carried by a fiber-optic network, which is faster and more reliable than cable, DSL, or satellite service. A lack of adequate connectivity can hamper Tennesseans’ access to telemedicine, education, and opportunities for career growth and development.
Through Project UNITE, an initiative of United Communications, we’re on a mission to provide high-speed internet to every under-connected home or business in Middle Tennessee. United is partnering with local stakeholders while pursuing grants for strategic expansion to serve its customers with friendly, responsive service.
“When I came to United about two years ago, I was pretty surprised at how many Tennesseans did not have adequate internet. That’s one of our major focuses, to get our fiber service out to as many people as we possibly can who may have never had an opportunity to have a good internet connection.”
As a leader at United, Rick’s job is to manage the planning, construction, and operation of network assets, including both fiber and wireless technologies. With numerous grants and federal infrastructure investments, he’s spending most of his time and energy on plans to expand fast, reliable access to more customers.
“With what we’re doing to bring broadband everywhere, we’re going to provide the underserved with something that others have had for several years,” said Rick. “This is a huge opportunity. We’re on the cusp of being able to provide everybody that level of service that many others in the United States experience. And that’s gratifying.”
Rick describes his leadership style as passionate. And what helps drive his passion is the feedback he gets from United customers, which he reviews every morning at 5:30 a.m.
“It really pumps you up and gets you ready for the day,” said Rick. “The ones that really stand out to me are when we go to an unserved area and they now have a United fiber or fixed wireless connection. They are blown away with what they can do with the internet and how they were handcuffed before with slow service.”
But Rick’s vision reaches well beyond the current needs of United customers. They’re anticipating the evolving needs of families and businesses in Middle Tennessee. And they’re building a network to surpass them all.
“We’re mindful of streaming services, our kids on the PS4 and the Xbox, new 4K TVs, and the bandwidth we need to download 4K video,” said Rick. “Our network is robust enough to handle not only what the customer needs today, but also the future. And we’re trying to stay one step ahead of it. The next phase is multi-gig and ultimately 10-gigabyte service. We’re going to have the capabilities to deliver it.”
With two office locations, Chapel Hill and Franklin, United has a fiber network with over 1,200 route miles of fiber backbone covering portions of Williamson, Rutherford, Marshall, Bedford, Franklin, and Davidson counties.
Our Project UNITE initiative enables us to provide high-speed Internet service options in some of the most rural communities in Middle Tennessee while still staying true to our roots of providing reliable service and dedicated local support.
“I really like being part of a company that focuses on the community,” said Rick. “Everyone knows each other. And when communities partner with United, we can get a lot more done.”
Learn more about how Project UNITE will bring Middle Tennessee residents and businesses the internet connectivity they need and deserve.