TDS Telecom takes 1 Gig show to four southern Wisconsin towns

TDS Telecom is taking its 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) data service to four southern Wisconsin communities, adding to its growing roster of fiber-based broadband communities.

For this latest deployment, TDS Telecom will begin connecting residential customers in Elkhorn, Johnson Creek, Waterford and Wind Lake, Wis., to the 1 Gbps FTTP service accompanied with IPTV-based TDS TV service.

Interestingly, these communities are getting the fiber-based service before some larger communities in its footprint, like metro Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago.

Matt Apps, manager of Internet Product Management and Development at TDS, said in a release that releasing the service in these communities will make them more attractive for residential customers that work out of their homes.

"Having 1 gigabit really opens up new possibilities for telecommuting," said Apps. "The technology makes it possible for people to enjoy all the benefits of living in a smaller community while working for an employer based in a larger nearby city."

Similar to earlier rollouts of the service in Waterford, Wis., area and New London, N.H., the 1 Gig Internet service in these communities will be offered as part of a TDS TV bundle that includes over 260 all-digital channels (including 100+ in HD), on-demand TV and movies, pay-per-view and on-the-go viewing options. They will also offer wireless set-top boxes.

"We're going to our existing IPTV-enabled markets and getting them Gig-enabled as well so that's the plan," said Apps in an interview with FierceTelecom. "Any future markets you see for FTTH will be Gig-enabled out of the gate, but the thought is we have a pretty good footprint already so let's go shore that up."

While there is work required with going to 1 Gbps on the FTTH network, Apps says the transition is a lot easier than upgrading its copper network to support higher DSL speeds.

"There is a little work we needed to do, but the beauty of fiber is that the way we're engineered now things are much less expensive and much more scalable for allowing us to launch these really high speeds," Apps said.

Apps added that in the markets where it is launching 1 Gbps service with IPTV, "the lowest speed you can get is 100 Mbps so that's setting a precedent probably as important as a Gig in that that's the slowest speed you can get."

As it continues to roll out 1 Gbps to more markets, TDS Telecom is also keen to take advantage of higher speed Wi-Fi-enabled home networking gateways that will support not only the higher speed connection, but the growing set of devices consumer's use inside the home.

"If you're wired, you can get the 900 Mbps speed test, but if we're capped at a 40-50 Mbps wireless product because of the limitations of wireless, it's time to get that wireless connection going," Apps said. "We're working to get the faster in-home Wi-Fi speeds deployed."

In addition, customers that buy the 1 Gig bundles will get TDS' Remote PC Support service--which includes unlimited technical support along with device setup assistance, computer cleanup, PC optimization and advanced Internet troubleshooting--at no additional cost.

Apps noted that the advent of 1 Gbps over a FTTH connection illustrates how the broadband access network is now faster than what home networking devices can support today.

"Wi-Fi got a lot faster than the Internet until very recently the access network has outpaced the in-home stuff, so it's weird to have that as a bottleneck or the CPU on your computer be the bottleneck for what's keeping your speeds from being down," he said.

Like Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG), the service provider is also moving ahead with its Fiberville program, one that will reward residents and neighborhoods with special offers and service discounts once a certain threshold of interest in the service is met. TDS said that once 15 percent of a neighborhood pre-registers for TDS TDV service, they will achieve Fiberville status and receive free HD for life.

For more:
- see the release

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Related articles:
TDS to light up 1 Gbps, IPTV service in Waterford, Wis.
TDS adds New London, N.H., to its 1 Gig fiber-based broadband list
TDS Telecom lights 1 Gbps fiber broadband service in Hollis, N.H.
TDS Telecom's OneNeck IT revenues rise to $67.9M on strong managedIP subs

This article was updated on Oct. 31 with information from TDS Telecom.