TDS to use $75M in FCC funding to expand broadband to 160K rural locations

Rural broadband

TDS Telecom has received $75.1 million in FCC’s Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) funds to expand broadband to nearly 160,000 rural locations across its network territory. 

The new funding allow the telco bring broadband to what it says are the “hardest to serve areas in the country.”

Additionally, the funding will be used to maintain existing voice and broadband network as well as build outs to new locations.

RELATED: TDS Telecom accepts $75.1M in FCC A-CAM funding to expand rural broadband

Depending on location, most TDS customers in eligible rural areas will receive guaranteed broadband speeds of 25/3 Mbps.

Under the agreement with the FCC, the remaining customers will receive broadband service at lower speeds of 10/1 and 4/1 Mbps.

Widening the reach

The A-CAM funds will be distributed across rural customer locations in 25 states. Each state has specific amounts that the funding will address.

A large portion of the A-CAM funding will address locations in Wisconsin, TDS’ home state, and Tennessee. TDS has received funding for 35,379 locations in Wisconsin and 16,409 in Tennessee.

States

Number of Locations 
Receiving Funding

Wisconsin

35,379

Tennessee

16,409

Minnesota

10,788

Alabama

11,516

Oklahoma

6,479

Maine

7,302

Georgia

5,417

Arizona

4,516

Michigan

6,299

New York

8,802

Indiana

7,539

Mississippi

5,207

California

2,995

Virginia

5,212

Kentucky

5,062

New Hampshire

1,886

Colorado

3,083

Washington

3,587

South Carolina

3,813

Ohio

2,042

Idaho

1,336

Pennsylvania

2,152

Florida

1,638

Vermont

1,013

Oregon

140

TOTAL

159,612

In August, TDS was offered $82.3 million of support revenue annually for 10 years, which would replace about $50 million of declining annual support.

During the first quarter, TDS plans to allocating network and construction resources to implement the project.

After the telco finalizes its buildout plans, TDS will make more information, including maps, available on its website.

TDS said this information will help residents look up information to see how this federal program may impact their specific location.

Along with Consolidated Communications, TDS Telecom is among 182 companies to receive a total of $454 million in alternative rural broadband funding.

Continued rural focus

As an aggressive provider of rural broadband services, TDS Telecom has tapped into various FCC programs to enhance their reach in areas that it otherwise would not have been able to reach. 

Between 2009 and 2010, TDS accepted a number of U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) grants as part of the ARRA broadband stimulus funding program. 

After applying for over 46 grants, TDS Telecom received a total of 42 in the second round. 

In addition to the initial group of 39 grants it won, TDS Telecom secured funding for three additional projects in Colorado, Florida/Georgia, and Oklahoma. The projects for TDS' Delta County Tele-Comm, Quincy Telephone Company, and Oklahoma Communications subsidiaries, serves 540, 430, and 900 residents, respectively.