TDS Telecom serves up 300 Mbps FTTH tier, plans future market expansions

TDS Telecom (NYSE: TDS) is now delivering a 300 Mbps Internet tier in parts of five of its ILEC markets, including Tennessee, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Georgia, and Minnesota, where it currently offers its fiber to the home (FTTH) service.

Eligible consumers in these markets can purchase the new tier as a standalone service for $99 a month or as part of a triple play bundle, which includes its budding IPTV product.

Similar to Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and its Quantum 300 and 500 Mbps tiers, TDS said it in some cases it might have to swap out the existing optical network terminal (ONT) at the home to deliver the service. However, its existing CPE, which it also uses for its IPTV service, can support the 300 Mbps speeds.

The new service also includes Remote PC Support, which it says will provide assistance with device setup, computer cleanup, PC optimization, advanced Internet troubleshooting, and wireless device configuration.

Matt Apps, manager of product management and development (Internet) at TDS Telecom, told FierceTelecom that the PC support service will help customers get the most out of their connection.

"If somebody buys this service and they are like "gee, what's the best way to get this throughput," we may be able to help them," he said. "We wanted to add that level of support because it is a premium product for TDS."

This latest speed tier follows the 100 Mbps FTTH service it introduced in Halls and La Vergne, Tenn., and Monticello, Minn., in June.

Since the 100 Mbps service requires users to take a triple play bundle, Apps said that "speed has allowed us to leverage customers into higher end bundles than they may have taken otherwise."

Taking a cue from Google Fiber (Nasdaq: GOOG), the telco announced its Fiberville program last July as a way to gauge consumer interest in its growing FTTH service in new target communities. The telco is seeing a strong uptick from pre-selling the service.

"We're seeing strong penetration by pre-selling it," Apps said. "The whole economics of fiber change if from day one you have 15 percent of the customers already there penetrated and ready to go."

Stopping short of revealing new market plans, Apps said that they will be rolling out FTTH in new areas this year and next.

"We're definitely not done," Apps said. "You have a market list of what we recently rolled out, but we're in progress with quite a few markets."  

He added that in some markets such as Wisconsin "some of the economics and performance for copper plant for rehab and repair has narrowed the investment to go fiber to the home."

For more:
- see the release

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