Murfreesboro Housing Authority to Receive TVA Funds to Offer Residents Internet Connectivity and Energy Education

MTE and United Communications to work with SmartMark Communications on Connected Communities Project Implementation

A vital TVA initiative is helping United Communications and Middle Tennessee Electric apply consumer data and innovative technologies to develop wireless infrastructure and energy education for residents at several Murfreesboro Housing Authority properties.

The project, called “The Power of Connectivity: Providing Wi-Fi Access and Education to New Affordable Housing Projects,” has been selected for funding by TVA’s Connected Communities initiative, which uses community-driven information and the newest technology solutions to address challenges that include broadband access, environmental risk monitoring, digital literacy training and next-generation career options.

The goal of the Connected Communities initiative is to support the best technological means to deliver critical programs and services to the people and businesses who depend on them. This project will share more than $3 million in grant funding from TVA in 2022 and 2023.

The project will be executed by the following pilot team: SmartMark Communications will act as program manager and work with MTE on the design of an educational program. United Communications will work to create additional wireless infrastructure at three of MHA’s properties as part of ongoing renovations, making broadband Wi-Fi available to residents of the Oakland I, Oakland II and Parkside communities. MTE and SmartMark Communications will develop a basic educational curriculum for residents about energy efficiency and energy use best practices.

MTE is the local electric cooperative and will provide strategic counsel on energy assistance and reduction programs and work with the team on energy analysis.

“Middle Tennessee Electric and its subsidiary, United Communications, are grateful to TVA for providing funding for this project,” said Brad Gibson, MTE’s Chief Cooperative Business Officer. “Access to quality internet is vital in today’s world, and we’re proud to be working on this impactful project for the Murfreesboro community with our partners.”

The project was selected from more than 40 organizations that applied for funding during the initial call for pilots in late 2021. Each selected project supports at least one of three focus areas of the TVA Connected Communities initiative:

  • Equitable Access to Services: Increase access to services through broadband, modern technology and the knowledge and empowerment to use it.
  • Economic Empowerment: Economic security and the ability to contribute to a modern, 21st Century economy to the best of their ability.
  • Energy & Environmental Justice: A healthy environment and reliable, affordable and clean energy.

Bonnie Latta, senior project lead of the TVA Connected Communities initiative, explained that her team is assisting community leaders to prepare for the future by helping them to develop strategies that leverage technology and data. “Connected Communities is all about helping local leaders create plans through local teams, which is important for creating enduring benefits for people and businesses,” said Latta. “We are pleased to help interested communities build a localized strategy and implement a plan. By working in partnership with Valley communities and local power companies, we are continuing to make TVA’s seven-state region the best place in the country to live, work and raise a family.”

To learn more about TVA’s Connected Communities initiative, including resources and tools for communities to implement their own Connected Communities initiatives, please visit www.tva.gov/ConnectedCommunities or email your inquiry to [email protected].

TVA’s Connected Communities pilot projects will be awarded funding after successful completion of required reviews. TVA contributes 70 percent of the project’s total costs, and pilot teams will contribute 30 percent. Work on the pilot projects is expected to begin this summer.

About Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) and United Communications
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 320,000+ 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 corporate headquarters.

MTE’s subsidiary, 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 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.

For more information, please visit www.mte.com or united.net.

About SmartMark Communications
For more than 20 years, SmartMark Communications has been recognized in the energy and utilities industry for its ability to design and manage programs that integrate advanced technologies and cutting-edge educational programs. The company works with the world’s leading companies to drive change through our understanding of the adoption and application of the most advanced technologies to improve the world we live in. Learn more at smartmarkglobal.com.

About the Murfreesboro Housing Authority
The Murfreesboro Housing Authority is a nonprofit Tennessee corporation organized on September 13, 1950, to provide housing for low-income families. The Authority is governed by a five-member Board of Directors appointed by the Mayor of Murfreesboro. An Executive Director, presently L. Thomas Rowe, is appointed by the Board and serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the Board.

Murfreesboro Housing Authority’s mission 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 our residents.

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