Others have to settle for a simple debut. But in this case, the newest Internet provider coming to Millington is making a Premier.
Starting off in 2003, Premier’s beginnings were focused on doing fulfillment work for DirecTV. It was a national install company with a footprint in Knoxville, Nashville and Itta Bena, Miss.
“Tremendously, we’ve completely changed,” said Thomas Stevens, chief visionary for Premier. “We’re on a different track here. We’ve went from being a retail (installer) for DirecTV, we moved into becoming what is called an MDU (multiple dwelling unit) dealer. To where we build out an entire apartment complex. We’re the only ones who manage it. We started putting internet into those properties bring fiber-internet to those customers.”
Premier debuted in Flag City earlier this year after securing a contract with Ritter. Stevens noted Premier has a good working relationship with the main phone, internet and Wi-Fi provider for the Millington area.
“We have 25 local properties around Memphis in which we have fiber and DirectTV and that’s counting Millington,” Stevens said. “Everybody just kept pulling us into that direction. Honestly, some of the bigger companies out there like Econo Lodge kept pushing us to get out there.”
He added, “It took us five years to make a deal with the apartment complex behind there which is Commodore Village. We went into Commodore Village, all three of their properties and Econo Lodge there.”
Premier has established itself in Millington around Shelby Drive and Navy Road. Now the internet provider is looking to expand in the residential neighborhoods of Millington.
“The reception has been very good,” Stevens said. “It’s starting to grow. People are calling us out left and right. We’re doing installs out there every day. Once they see the fiber speeds, it’s growing like wildflowers.
“We still have a small presence out there compared to our other locations,” he continued. “As fast as it going, we’re going to double in size or even more in the Millington area.”
Before providing internet for Millington was in the picture, Premier started as Stevens Contracting in 2003 as a sales and installations company. In 2010, the company transitioned into the commercial and MDU markets, and a couple of years later internet services were added to Premier’s portfolio.
“Since then we have built more than 35 MDU properties with satellite and internet systems,” Stevens said. “We are currently designing a fiber network to connect our properties and FTTH (fiber to the home) network in Shelby County. We are building the network based on demand, which means we will build to the areas that we can get the most customers. We now have more than 3,000 passed homes with a third of those being our current bulk TV and internet customers.”
Stevens has been in the telecommunications industry for 24 years. In 2007, he renamed Stevens Contracting as Premier. The company is managed by Stevens, his wife Dana and their operations manager, James Bailey.
“Together, they handle all of the day-to-day managerial decisions as well as planning the trajectory of the company,” Stevens said. “Dana has extensive experience guiding the company with me as she has been assisting me in operating and further growing the company from the outset. All sales, installation, and office personnel report directly to us.”
While the office duties are being taken care of, Stevens can often be found in the company van on installation calls. He also fields calls about other areas interested in Premier’s services.
“I’m passionate about doing this internet and helping people,” he said. “Going out there and giving them a competition to Ritter, that’s what has really been pushing us to get out there. Everywhere we turn, ‘Do you have anything in Millington?’
“Now I’m hearing, ‘In Munford or Atoka?’” Stevens continued. “Everyone is trying to push us to get out there. On our website, under packages you can click availability. You can fill out that link and put in your information. The more people who fill out from a certain area, the more I look into that area. The city of Munford we’re looking at pretty hard right now.”
Munford could add to the workload of Premier as the business currently has 4,500 feet of fiber run among five locations around the greater Memphis area.
“Our fiber originates from a data center that has ten gigabits of bandwidth,” Stevens noted. “We also have a wireless infrastructure that runs between our five locations. We are in the process of expanding to a third location in downtown Memphis, 817 Riverside Drive, that will add close to an additional mile of fiber to our existing infrastructure.
“We are also in the process of running fiber in the heart of Bartlett at 2800 Bartlett Road,” he added.
“Both of these projects will be completed within the next month. We have two other projects also in the works, one that will run fiber in Millington and the other in Collierville. Both of these projects are being built to service an MDU with the potential to reach additional residential and commercial customers.”
Stevens said the suburban expansion is helping get the Premier name out to the masses.
“The Millington project will bring fiber to Commodore Village while passing 75 residential and 50 commercial potential subscribers,” he noted. “The Collierville project will bring fiber to Meridian Park while providing the potential to reach 80 potential residential subscribers.
“These projects will add 20,000 feet, with Millington providing 12,000 feet and Collierville providing 8,000 feet,” Stevens continued. “We expect the Millington project to be complete in four months and the Collierville project to be complete in six months.”
Stevens said Premier, a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier, is looking forward to serving these areas for many years.
“My goal is to enjoy and to grow,” Stevens concluded. “That area (Millington) has been so starved for internet competition. We do hotels, apartments. My goal out there, this is the biggest network outside of an apartment complex. We have contracts with Ritter and MLG&W to build fiber on their poles.”
For more information, call (901) 937-8613 or visit premiersatellite.tv.
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for Journal West 10 Media LLC. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. “Know Your Biz” features about Shelby County businesses appear weekly in all four of the Journal West 10 newspapers. We also welcome your suggestions on who to feature next; email ideas to Bartlett Express Editor Carolyn Bahm at email@example.com.