Co-Op Broadband Partnerships Creating Synergies for Success

Co-Op Broadband Partnerships Creating Synergies for Success

Powering homes, businesses, and lives in Williamson, Wilson, Rutherford, Cannon and surrounding counties. Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation distributes electricity to more than 230,000 residential and business members in a four-county area directly south of metropolitan Nashville. MTEMC's is a member-owned, not for pro?t electric cooperative that was formed by farmers and homeowners in 1936.

Covering more than 2,100 square miles with12,000 miles of electric lines, MTEMC covers multiple rural counties across Tennessee. Like many coops have faced, the lack of high-speed internet necessitated MTEMC to evaluate its options to expand broadband services to members.

Given MTEMC’s large territory, MTEMC needed to understand how the costs would vary across its territory to determine the most effective ways to expand fiber. MTEMC hired Magellan Advisors to conduct a deep engineering analysis, cost estimates and business plan for a fiber to the home deployment to serve all members.

Project Information

Industry Sector

Utilities & Co-op





MTEMC’s goal was to map out an entire broadband business, distinct from the electric business, to inform MTEMC’s leadership of the opportunities, risks and requirements of provide broadband services directly versus partnering with an existing ISP.

Magellan Advisors guided MTEMC’s leadership to understand the pros and cons of providing retail broadband versus shifting these responsibilities to a partner, including customer service, billing and nework operations. The business plan laid out the key strategies that MTEMC would follow to achieve its goals in both scenarios,with a real-world assessment of MTEMC’s postitioning in both options.


MTEMC’s leadership saw an opportunity to partner with United Communications, an ISP covering much of the same geography as MTEMC and in 2018, established the partnership. The partnership allows the two organizations to combine their resources and decades of experience to offer affordable, high-speed internet services to members and customers in the coming years and improve quality of life for those in the areas they serve.


Deployment is already underway and full implementation will be a multi-year process. Based on input from the community, the partnership will prioritize implementation in areas with the highest demand. It allows both organizations to build a world-class, smart grid in the region at the lowest possible cost, while not impacting MTEMC’s members’ electric rates.

“We’re proud to be the First electric cooperative to pursue a partnership of this kind in Tennessee and answer the calls we have long heard from our members.They want and need access to broadband service,” said Chris Jones, president and CEO of MTEMC. “United Communications is the ideal partner for us. They have already built an impressive fiber backbone throughout many areas we serve which will allow us to work together to more rapidly and cost effectively expand internet services.”

“This partnership is about two local companies, who share common values, working together to provide a broadband solution for our area,” said William Bradford, president and CEO of United Communications.

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