"Empowering Communities and Connecting Lives"

Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation (STEMC) and Aeneas Internet and Telephone have formed a partnership to build and expand a Gigabit fiber network to bring Broadband communications to the region.

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The Need for Broadband

With the need for broadband internet services growing at an exponential rate, Southwest Tennessee Electric and Aeneas Internet and Telephone are joining forces to bring this much needed service to more people around West Tennessee! This partnership will allow future expansions of existing Aeneas fiber cities as well as reach the underserved areas of West Tennessee that have no broadband option available to them. The availability of broadband not only allows us to stream video and browse the internet faster, but it can increase economic development, increase home value, and allow possible technological enhancements to come to the region such as telemedicine. Projects are already underway so follow us on social media at https://www.facebook.com/stemconline and https://www.facebook.com/AeneasCom/ to get all the latest news!


Who We Are


Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Headquartered in Brownsville Tennessee, Southwest Tennessee Electric is a member-owned, non-profit electric cooperative distributing power to 50,000-members over parts of 11-counties in southwest Tennessee. With offices in Haywood, Tipton, Madison and Chester Counties; STEMC has been community focused for almost 85-years.

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Aeneas Internet and Telephone

Headquartered in Jackson, Tennessee, Aeneas Internet and Telephone has been named to Entrepreneur magazine's Hot 500 list of fastest growing businesses in the United States, as well as BusinessTN magazine's Hot100 and Inc. Magazine's Inc 5,000. Founded in 1995, Aeneas offers a myriad of services including gigabit fiber broadband, telephone services, office phone systems, data center services, managed networking, and more.

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Official Press Release


Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation and Aeneas Internet and Telephone Form Partnership to Bring Broadband Internet to West Tennessee

Broadband via gigabit fiber coming soon to Southwest Tennessee Electric's consumer-members

Brownsville, Tennessee  December 11, 2019 Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation and Aeneas Internet and Telephone announce today that they have formed a partnership to build and expand a gigabit fiber network to bring broadband communications to the region. This partnership will pave the way for a multi-year, multi-million-dollar investment into West Tennessee's future. The new network will eventually expand to provide high-speed internet access to every consumer-member in Southwest Tennessee Electric's service area.

The network will allow Southwest Tennessee Electric to build one of the most advanced electric distribution systems in Tennessee. The communication network will allow the cooperative to monitor and remotely manage equipment across the utility's 11-county service area, reducing cost, improving reliability, and increasing operational efficiency.

The gigabit fiber network will also allow Southwest Tennessee Electric and Aeneas to bring broadband internet and telephone services to many unserved areas of southwest Tennessee. Construction's first phase of nearly 1,000 miles of fiber optic cable will begin in the spring of 2020. Phase one will take approximately one year to complete and will focus on Tipton County and Chester County. Additionally, grant applications have been submitted to serve Hardeman and Haywood counties. Following phases will be launched based on participation and interest. The entire project is expected to take five years to complete.

We have heard the call from our consumer-members all over the service area who are asking for reliable high-speed internet service, said Kevin Murphy, president of Southwest Tennessee Electric. Recognizing that retail broadband service would be a new space for the cooperative, we began looking for a local partner with similar mission and purpose  serving the rural communities of West Tennessee. We found that strategic partnership with Aeneas Internet and Telephone. Aeneas is passionate about local customer service, and that is the culture and purpose that we looked for in a partner.

Our common mission is to serve our neighbors, Murphy said. That, coupled with their expansive knowledge of the technology required to operate a gigabit fiber network, makes this a perfect fit.

What an exciting time for West Tennessee! said Stephen Thorpe, CEO of Aeneas Internet and Telephone. For years we have worked with Southwest Tennessee Electric on various projects bringing broadband service to rural communities around West Tennessee. The need for broadband is growing rapidly, and in today's world we really do rely on it being available to all of us  not just those that live in or around the metro areas. Our founder Jonathan Harlan instilled in us a commitment to the communities we live in and the people we serve  to always have our customers and community our top priority. This is why he believed Southwest Tennessee Electric would be a perfect partner because we share cultures and beliefs. All of us here at Aeneas are excited to partner with Southwest Tennessee Electric to continue with Mr. Harlan's legacy and help bring this much needed service to even more people in the communities we serve!

About Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Based in Brownsville, Tennessee, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation is a consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative distributing power to 50,000 meters in parts of 11 West Tennessee counties. The cooperative powers nearly 50 communities of various sizes and maintains more than 4,000 miles of electric distribution lines. With offices in Haywood, Tipton, Madison, and Chester counties; STEMC has been community focused for almost 85 years.

About Aeneas Internet and Telephone

Headquartered in Jackson, Tennessee, Aeneas Internet and Telephone has been named to Entrepreneur magazine's Hot 500 list of fastest growing businesses in the United States, as well as BusinessTN magazine's Hot100 and Inc. Magazine's Inc 5,000. Founded in 1995, Aeneas offers a myriad of services including gigabit fiber broadband, local and long distance, VoIP, office phone systems, commercial web hosting and corporate e-mail, network security, off-site file storage, data center services, managed networking, and more.

If you would like more information about Southwest Electric Membership Corporation, please call Billy Gordon at 731-585-0538, or email wgordon@stemc.com.

If you would like more information about Aeneas Internet and Telephone, please call Stephen Thorpe at 731-554-9200 or email sthorpe@corp.aeneas.com


 

Frequently Asked Questions


Fiber is 100 times faster than today's basic broadband, allowing you to get what you want instantaneously. Imagine not having to wait on things buffering; everything will be ready to go when you are. So whether you are video chatting, uploading family videos, working from home, or playing your favorite online games, all you need to do is click and you're there.

Southwest Tennessee Electric is member owned and community focused. It has been for almost 85 years. Consumer-members have asked us repeatedly to consider this large project. To our members, access to dependable and affordable broadband isn't just an internet issue  it's a quality of life issue. In addition to broadband access, STEMC will use the communications network to further increase electric reliability to its consumer-members. Southwest Tennessee Electric and Aeneas unified goal for this project is to EMPOWER COMMUNITIES AND CONNECT LIVES.

This partnership will pave the way for a multi-year, multi-million-dollar investment into West Tennessee's future. The new Gigabit Fiber network will eventually expand to every member in Southwest Tennessee Electric's service area. Aeneas has already deployed broadband fiber in four cities, Henderson, Brownsville, Toone and Medon TN, so it may be available to you today! Check fiber.aeneas.com to see if it is available at your address.

Aeneas has already deployed broadband fiber in four cities, Henderson, Brownsville, Toone and Medon TN, so it may be available to you today! Check fiber.aeneas.com to see if it is available at your address. The Aeneas / STEMC partnership will allow expansion to those within Southwest Tennessee Electric's service area and allow Aeneas to expand its existing fiber cities.

Aeneas was founded in 1995 offering basic dial-up Internet services. From the outset, Aeneas sought to serve its surrounding rural communities in Tennessee. It was the first broadband provider to rural Tennessee, and Aeneas also became the largest Internet provider in West Tennessee. In 2014, they went live with fiber optics in Henderson TN. The focus of Aeneas continues to be local customer service to the rural communities of West Tennessee. Aeneas brings to the table expertise in areas of network engineering, sales, and technical support. Their vast knowledge and similar mission are a great fit for STEMC's members.

Regardless of an investment in electric system technologies including broadband, incremental rate increases are required to keep up with increasing operations and maintenance expenses of the electric system. However, specifically pertaining to broadband, no rate increases are anticipated to fund the project.

If you are already and Aeneas customer, your current services will not be affected in anyway. Your services will not be disrupted and we will continue to serve you with the exceptional customer service you have come to expect from us here at Aeneas Internet and Telephone. Partnering with Southwest Tennessee Electric will allow Aeneas to provide more choice, better products, and more services for new and existing customers in the future!

So long as members continue to support the project by signing up, construction will eventually lead to every Southwest Tennessee Electric consumer-member having access to fiber-internet. Member and community support will be crucial to the success of the project.

It is anticipated that the entire project take five (5) years to construct. There are five (5) phases of construction, each planned to take approximately a year. It may take up to another year after that to finish connecting all consumer-members with individual services. Patience is a virtue.

These locations may change some depending on receipt of grants, but right now construction is planned for portions of Tipton County and Chester County. Additionally, grant applications have been submitted to serve Southwest Tennessee Electric consumer-members in Hardeman and Haywood counties.

We are hopeful for construction to begin in Spring 2020. More information will follow soon with specific areas to be served so we can begin signups.

We can, and have applied for three (3) grant areas with the State of Tennessee. We will not know which areas, if any receive grants until the spring. Very rural areas not receiving grants, may not be constructed in Phase 1. And we will re-apply those areas for other grants. More federal grant applications will be opened this spring.

There will not be any contracts and no introductory price that goes up after 12-months. No bait-and-switch where you have to call and haggle for a better price after 12-months.

With so many options to stream TV over the internet now, it does not look likely that Aeneas will offer TV services. You may have heard of products like Sling, Hulu, YouTube TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, Disney +. The subscriptions are much cheaper and offer a wider variety of options. This will be re-evaluated after Phase 1.

Aeneas fiber broadband will be capable of Gigabit speeds and will be one of the most advanced networks in the nation. Pricing has not been set yet but will be competitive with similar providers. Pricing will be posted soon once construction begins. World class speeds, competitive pricing, and local service what more can you ask for?