MADISON, Wis. (July 13, 2017) – Engineering and design work to expand and improve broadband to more than 2,200 locations in western Minnesota has started with construction expected to begin in the area this fall or in 2018.
TDS Telecom (TDS®) began design work earlier this year in the Mid-State Telephone service area that includes part of Kandiyohi County as well as portions of Pope, Swift, Stearns and Chippewa counties. Current plans are for customers to see upgrades in their network services in late summer or early fall 2018.
TDS expects to begin construction later this fall, however, construction work will be dependent on when the ground freezes.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocated $5.1 million each year to reach residents in some of the hardest to serve areas in Minnesota. The funding will also be used to maintain a voice and broadband network as well as building out to these locations. The FCC’s Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) will provide funding to more than 2,200 locations in central Minnesota. With its network upgrades, TDS expects to provide improved service to hundreds of additional customers in nearby locations not eligible for A-CAM.
Minnesota residents can visit the TDS website to find out how this federal program may impact their location.
Depending on location, most TDS customers in eligible rural areas will receive guaranteed broadband speeds of 25Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload (25/3). Under the agreement with the FCC, the remaining customers will receive broadband service at lower speeds of 10/1 and 4/1Mbps.
“We are excited to start work on this project to provide faster connections to customers in Kandiyohi and neighboring counties,” said Jean Pauk, manager – State Government Affairs at TDS.
In January, TDS announced it elected to receive approximately $75.1 million a year to increase broadband access in 25 states from the FCC’s A-CAM, under the Connect America Fund (CAF) program. TDS will leverage the funds over the next 10 years to support the buildout of rural broadband networks to nearly 160,000 locations across the country.
TDS has been doing business in Minnesota since 1969 and owns four telephone companies in the state. TDS employs about 225 people in Minnesota.