And How Project UNITE Works to Solve It
“It’s just harder to bring service to the most rural areas,” explains United Communications President, William Bradford. As rural communities have been historically overlooked by larger internet service providers, we are taking a look at why that is and how United is stepping up. To get a better understanding of this dilemma, we went straight to the source. Continue reading to see what Bradford had to say about the current and future state of rural internet availability.
The High Barrier of Entry for Rural Areas
Though some ISPs, like United, have found their niche in rural areas, it’s a more difficult path when considering the financial side of the business. Bradford went on to explain that when “some rural areas are averaging four to seven houses per mile”—and the average cost for fiber installation is $34,000 per mile – it’s difficult for many providers to justify that cost as a good business decision. For ISPs that do not concentrate on bringing connectivity to rural areas, it’s clear why they pass up these areas when they could instead lay fiber in areas that generate more revenue.
Through Community, We Can Increase Accessibility
“Some companies have figured out how to do this effectively and they keep within that niche,” says Bradford. Bringing internet access to rural versus urban areas involves different considerations and processes. Thankfully, there are other local ISPs that have also committed their work to connecting rural areas. United Communications is proud to be part of that initiative and is thankful for the ability to discuss best practices with other ISPs to make the biggest impact. “The more efficient we can be by working together, the more homes we can serve,” added Bradford.
How United Communications is Making a Difference
“We work to serve as many homes as possible with every dollar we have,” said Bradford. To accelerate its impact within Middle Tennessee, United Communications is committed to its Project UNITE platform—the company’s philosophy to leverage government funding, its own investments, and community partnerships to make fiber available to as many rural residents as possible.
As Tennessee’s Governor, Bill Lee, is also committed to connecting rural communities, the state has used CARES Act funding to improve broadband infrastructure. United was grateful to have been awarded $5.2 million in grant funding in 2020 to further Project UNITE’s mission; making fiber available to 1,761 homes in four Middle Tennessee counties. But United isn’t stopping there.
Bradford and his team have and will continue to push forward through state and federal funding, relationship building, and other opportunities to bring Middle Tennesseans the connectivity they need and deserve. “I’m an optimist. It’s not a matter of if we’ll solve this issue, but rather when we’ll get to those areas that need internet access,” Bradford remarked. United Communications is on a mission and Project UNITE is one more stepping stone on the way to a more connected Tennessee.
To learn more about Project UNITE, or to see if fiber is available in your area, please click HERE.