TDS cranks fiber speeds up to 8 Gbps

TDS Telecom is looking to gain an edge on the competition with faster speeds, rolling out a new 8 Gbps product just a year and a half after it doubled the data rates on its top-tier offering to 2 Gbps.

The operator said the new symmetrical 8-gig service is already available in more than 75 of its fiber markets and runs $295 per month.

Though most U.S. operators are sticking with 2-gig as their top tier product for now, a handful of others have already pushed further into multi-gig territory. AT&T and Ziply Fiber, for instance, both offer residential plans providing up to 5 Gbps. And fewer still have gone beyond that. Lumen Technologies debuted an 8-gig tier for its Quantum Fiber service in August and Google Fiber has announced plans to trot out 5-gig and 8-gig plans in early 2023. Lumen’s service costs $300 per month.

Wire 3, which offers a 10-gig service to customers in Florida, and Tennessee’s EPB, which provides a 25-gig product, are downright outliers.

And for good reason. It’s not entirely clear that consumers need these kinds of speeds currently. Indeed, while TDS in a press release pitched the 8-gig product as suitable for power users such as gamers and content creators, an operator representative told Fierce it doesn’t initially expect significant uptake of the plan.

Instead, such offerings are tools in a marketing war being waged across the broadband industry.

On the operator’s Q3 2022 earnings call, TDS CFO Michelle Brukwicki stated its 1-gig and 2-gig plans are “important tools that will allow us to defend and win new customers.” She added nearly a quarter of new customers are taking its 1-gig service where it is available and its faster, higher-APRU tiers helped it boost residential broadband revenue in the quarter.

In terms of who it’s competing against, rivals include AT&T, Comcast, Consolidated Communications and Lumen.