TDS plans to lay 800-900 new fiber miles in 2015, fuels 1 Gig expansion

TDS Telecom has set an aggressive plan to expand its fiber network with plans to lay 800-900 miles of cable in 2015, a build that will support its ongoing deployment of 1 Gbps capable fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) services.

Matt Apps, manager of Internet Product Management and Development at TDS Telecom, told FierceTelecom, said they will continue to move forward with an aggressive build out throughout 2015.

"We had some pretty aggressive plans in 2014 of continuing to build out and 2015 is going to be a similar plan that we're continuing to pursue more fiber in more markets," Apps said. "If we're overbuilding a copper area, we'll do it success-based based on if we get the customer we'll put the drop in to the home and get the home set up the customer for TV and everything." 

The service provider said it buried about 900 miles of new fiber this year and is leveraging existing fiber it previously deployed to serve as a backbone and extension to deliver 1 Gbps services to more communities in its footprint.

Apps said that the ongoing build out strategy for its 1 Gbps will be to extend the service into areas where it has already built out FTTH and IPTV.

"Where we have IPTV and fiber are going to be next in line for our Gig markets. "We have done new rollouts of IPTV and FTTH, but this initiative is more of a going back to the existing ones, but the great thing about fiber is that once that's laid in the ground to the house the upgrades are not like they are on the coax or copper side."

Apps added that the cost per household "is quite reduced to get a less than gig customer to make it gig capable so we went back to some existing areas that we had and we're looking to continue to do that."

One of the differences that TDS Telecom brings to the FTTP table is its approach to delivering service.

While larger carriers like AT&T (NYSE: T) and even insurgent providers like Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) have focused on markets like Austin, Texas, and Kansas City, TDS has been focusing on smaller Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets like Hollis, N.H., and Mt. Juliet, Tenn.

"Instead of the larger metropolitan areas, we are making 1 Gig service available in nearby, smaller and more rural communities," Apps said. 

What TDS Telecom's approach speaks to is the reality that it is potentially making its service an attractive amenity in smaller towns where residents want to live yet still require higher speed service. The service would resonate with telecommuters who work for larger companies but want the quiet atmosphere of a smaller town.

To date, the company offers services in various cities and towns in four states: Georgia, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

By expanding its existing fiber network and building new facilities, TDS Telecom will be able to extend services to existing FTTP customers and new ones that today only can get traditional DSL service. 

For more:
- see the release

Special report: Gigabit Wars: The best prices for 1 Gbps service from ILECs, MSOs and municipal providers

Related articles:
TDS serves up more 1 Gig in Georgia, Tennessee communities
TDS Telecom adds Mt. Juliet, La Vergne, Tenn., to its 1-Gig roster
TDS Telecom adds Monroe, Wis., to its growing 1-Gig broadband list
TDS extends 1-Gig Internet, IPTV services to 7 New Hampshire towns

This article was updated on Dec. 22 with additional information from TDS Telecom.

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