Ken Paker, vice president of network services, TDS Telecom: Rising stars in wireline

Ken Paker, TDS TelecomIf you want to know where the future of TDS Telecom's (NYSE: TDS) wireline network is going look no further than Ken Paker, Vice President of network services.

Like other traditional ILECs, the service provider is in the process of transforming their image as "a local phone company" to being the "preferred broadband provider" in the 30 states it serves.   

Among his many initiatives in 2011 is the ongoing deployment of VDSL2 across its markets to deliver 25 Mbps service to residential and business customers.  

In the first quarter of this year, TDS plans to expand the reach of its VDSL2 reach to 13 additional states, reaching subscribers across hundreds of nodes embedded in nearly 150 networks. This follows the initial rollout of VDSL2 service in seven initial states.

As a 30-year telecom veteran, Paker takes a proof is in the pudding attitude to new technologies. He said that while previous DSL technologies like ADSL2+ "had a tendency to be oversold, but it looks like in the case of VDSL2 it was what we expected."

Paker's attitude about not overselling technology also applies to TDS' vision of delivering IPTV. While TDS is delivering IPTV in its Mt. Juliet and Farragut, Tenn. markets, Paker believes the jury is still out on whether VDSL2 could handle a full blown video offering.

Complementing TDS' VDSL2 rollout is its nationwide 10 Gbps transport network, which pairs TDS regional hub sites using various service providers and provides geographical route diversity to maintain uptime.

But Paker's greatest challenge outside of these two network initiatives will be in how it will leverage the $114.5 million in federal grants for broadband expansion projects in 18 states. These grants, which were awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, are centered on expanding broadband service to areas it could not financially justify serving before.  

A 30-year telecom veteran who got his start at the former AT&T Bell Laboratories developing the 5ESS voice switching system, Paker will apply his practical approach to tackle these initiatives and others that emerge in 2011.

Ken Paker, vice president of network services, TDS Telecom: Rising stars in wireline