TDS Telecommunications Corp.(NYSE: TDS) will receive approximately USD 75.1m a year for the next 10 years from the Federal Communications Commission´s (FCC) Alternative Connect America Cost Model, the company said.
TDS will leverage the funds to expand and improve broadband service to nearly 160,000 homes in 25 states over that time frame.
Funding for the program, also referred to as the Connect America Fund (CAF), will support the buildout of rural broadband networks. Depending on location, most TDS customers in rural areas eligible for CAF funding will receive guaranteed broadband speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload (25/3). Under the agreement, most of the remaining customers will receive speeds of 10/1 Mbps.
According to Hess, the project is expected to improve broadband service to a majority of the company´s total wireline locations in the United States. Nearly 95% of our customers have access to Internet connections, he said, but faster, more reliable access in rural, less densely populated areas is needed.
Implementation for the project will begin as soon as first quarter of 2017.
As TDS finalizes the buildout plans, more details, including maps will be available on the TDS website in the next few weeks. This information will help residents look up and see how this federal program may impact their specific location.
For nearly 10 years, TDS has worked with FCC Commissioners, their staff and federal trade associations to create a plan to allow for the expansion of rural networks served by rate-of-return companies, including TDS. CAF ensures more residents of rural America will have access to improved broadband service and more reliable speeds.
TDS Telecommunications provides 1.2 million connections to high-speed Internet, phone, and TV entertainment services in nearly 900 rural, suburban, and metropolitan communities. For residential customers, TDS deploys 1Gig Internet access, IPTV service, cable TV options, and traditional wireline services.
Headquartered in Madison, Wis., TDS Telecom operates OneNeck IT Solutions LLC and BendBroadband, which is part of TDS Broadband Service LLC. Combined, the company employs more than 3,400 people.
Telephone and Data Systems provides wireless; cable and wireline broadband, TV and voice; and hosted and managed services to approximately sixm customers nationwide through its businesses US Cellular, TDS Telecom, OneNeck IT Solutions LLC, and TDS Broadband Service LLC. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Chicago, Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. employs 10,400 people.