TDS Telecom begins construction on its first broadband stimulus project

TDS Telecom (NYSE: TDS) has begun construction on its first broadband stimulus project in Chatham, Mich., a town where it will connect over 900 residents to new broadband DSL service.

The buildout in Chatham is made possible by an $8.6 million grant from the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to expand broadband access in the area.

With construction already underway, TDS expects to complete the project by mid-May 2013 but hopes to complete it before that date.

David Wittwer, president and CEO of TDS, said in a release announcing the groundbreaking of the new project that in order to fulfill its new duty as a broadband company it needs to provide service even in hard to reach areas like Chatham, Mich. "More than 93 percent of our customers have Internet access," he said. "But the last 7 percent are the toughest to reach. Many live in sparsely populated areas, like Chatham."

Having submitted 13 applications in 2009 for the first round of broadband stimulus grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), TDS has been of the most aggressive independent ILEC applicants for broadband stimulus funding.

In total, TDS has received 44 broadband stimulus grants--including two in round one and 42 in round two. Although TDS has chosen engineering firms for the broadband projects across its U.S. footprint with construction underway, it has not revealed the progress of projects in other cities yet.

TDS Michigan network buildout

Chatham Telephone Company d/b/a TDS Telecommunications Corp. (TDS) Note: RUS funding of TDS' Round One application for areas in Chatham Telephone Company are denoted in gray. (Source: TDS)

For more:
- see the release

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