TDS Telecom has begun engineering and design work on a project to expand and improve broadband service to more than 2,000 locations in western Minnesota, leveraging $5.1 million in FCC Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) program funding.
Earlier this year, TDS Telecom began design work in the midstate telephone service area that includes part of Kandiyohi County as well as portions of Pope, Swift, Stearns and Chippewa counties.
Customers in these areas should expect to see network upgrades in late summer or early fall 2018. TDS expects to begin construction later this fall, but construction work will be dependent on when the ground freezes.
Depending on the 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.
By making these network upgrades, TDS expects to provide improved service to hundreds of additional customers in nearby locations not eligible for A-CAM.
In January, TDS Telecom elected to accept about $75.1 million a year for the next 10 years from the FCC’s A-CAM program to expand rural broadband availability.
The telecom company, which participated in the Broadband Stimulus program developed by former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, will use the funds to expand and improve broadband services to nearly 160,000 homes in 25 states over that time frame.
TDS Telecom is among 182 companies to receive a total of $454 million in alternative rural broadband funding.