Murfreesboro Housing Authority Launches New Program for Residents to Receive Free Internet Access and Energy Education for Up to Three Years

TVA Funded Connected Communities Pilot goes live this month

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Murfreesboro Housing Authority (MHA), in cooperation with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), United Communications and SmartMark Communications, announced today that its residents will now be eligible for free Internet service for up to three years thanks to a grant provided by TVA’s Connected Communities program. Infrastructure has been laid out over the past several months and customers will have access to service beginning this month.

MHA received a Connected Communities grant from TVA last year to lay fiber in three communities currently under revitalization efforts: Oakland Court I, Oakland Court II, and Parkside. Phase I of a multi-phase grant offers residents free internet access and energy education programming designed to help lower monthly bills. Later phases will include the introduction of smart technology and further energy savings opportunities in partnership with Middle Tennessee Electric, United’s parent company.

TVA’s Connected Communities initiative supports TVA’s energy system of the future and plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. By expanding access to technology, TVA is investing in job creation, preparing for a modern grid system to further support clean energy resources, and opening more opportunities to connect with the community.

“MHA is honored to have been awarded this grant from TVA and the opportunity to provide free connectivity to our residents,” said Thomas Rowe, CEO of MHA. “Internet access has become a necessity to our daily lives, and we are excited that this program will not only help raise awareness around energy efficiency and costs but open up new possibilities and access for residents.”

“Affordable housing has many benefits for limited-income residents but the cost of technology, like internet access, can be burdensome,” said Georgia Caruthers, senior program manager of the TVA Connected Communities initiative. “By supporting Murfreesboro Housing Authority’s efforts to help residents to have a better quality of life, we are helping to fulfill TVA’s mission of service to make life better through complimentary Wi-Fi connectivity that allows ready access to information and online services, and the ability for residents to benefit from their ‘smart-home ready’ residences with the potential to help lower their energy bills.”

In addition to offering free internet service, United Communications has been actively contributing to the project through additional funding that has allowed for the full deployment of fiber-to-the-home in all three communities.

“United Communications is honored to provide reliable, high-speed internet for low-income residents in Middle Tennessee while supporting an important energy education program in partnership with MTE, TVA, MHA and SmartMark,” said William Bradford, President and CEO of United Communications. “This is especially meaningful as it is our mission to bring critical internet connectivity to support a variety of needs, including kids’ education, adult online training and education, and working from home, to meet their most basic needs. We are pleased that, together, we can achieve this goal.”

SmartMark Communications is program managing the project and providing the energy education and customer engagement components of the pilot.

Learn more at connecting-MHA.com.

About Connecting MHA

Connecting MHA is a program supported by the TVA Connected Communities grant program that provides free Internet access and smart technologies together with energy education and automated savings opportunities to residents of Oakland Court I, Oakland Court II and Parkside communities at the Murfreesboro Housing Authority. Phase I provides three full years of free Internet service in exchange for participation in a quarterly energy savings education program. This program is supported by United Communications, Middle Tennessee Electric, SmartMark Communications, and ACE IoT.

About the Murfreesboro Housing Authority

The mission at the Murfreesboro Housing Authority is to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing in good repair for eligible families in a manner that promotes serviceability, economy, efficiency and stability of the developments; and to utilize all available resources to maximize the social and economic opportunities of all residents. Learn more at mha-tn.org.

About TVA

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

About United Communications

United Communications is a leading provider of internet, digital TV, and phone services to enterprise-class businesses and residential customers in Middle Tennessee. United is recognized as a Smart Rural Community ProviderSM, a top “Fastest Internet Service Provider” by BroadbandNow and the winner of the 2021 Broadband Communities Cornerstone Award, which honors the most notable deployments of Fiber-to-the-Home in the U.S. and abroad. United operates approximately 1,700 route miles of fiber covering portions of Williamson, Rutherford, Marshall, Bedford, Franklin, Wilson, and Davidson counties. United Communications is a service of Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation. To learn more, please visit united.net.

About Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE)

Founded in 1936, MTE is the largest electric cooperative in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) region and the second largest in the United States, serving more than 750,000 Tennesseans via 325,000+ accounts covering nearly 2,200 square miles in 11 Middle Tennessee counties, primarily Rutherford, Cannon, Williamson and Wilson. Municipalities served include Murfreesboro, Franklin, Brentwood, Smyrna, La Vergne, Lebanon and Mt. Juliet. MTE employs 520 people in seven local offices and its Murfreesboro headquarters.

MTE’s subsidiary, United Communications, is a nationally recognized broadband company with a fiber network spanning more than 1,200 route miles providing high-speed internet and other services to portions of Williamson, Rutherford, Marshall, Bedford, Franklin, and Davidson counties.

About SmartMark Communications

For more than two decades, SmartMark Communications has helped shape customer experience by developing education and engagement strategies that drive technology adoption and sustainable behavior change. A leader in energy innovation and the evolution of the smart grid, SmartMark works with energy companies, stakeholders, and policy makers to design and implement customer-centric programs that validate investments and drive transformation. Learn more at smartmarkglobal.com.

Contacts

Media:
Meredith Ponce

SmartMark Communications

meredith@smartmarkusa.com
615-864-7841