Broadband Stimulus Bids for TDS(R) Projects in Ind. & Mich. Due Early Feb.

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Earlier today, contractors from 17 telecom construction companies received details to bid on broadband Internet expansion projects in Ind. and Mich. TDS Telecommunications Corp. (TDS®) hosted the pre-bid meeting this morning to outline project plans that will expand broadband networks in parts of Ind. and Mich. Bids are due to TDS in about two weeks.

“Today’s meeting is a critical piece to getting this network built,” says Larry Boehm, director of Network Implementation and Optimization for TDS. “We outlined the project and the timelines. Now, contractors have a chance to submit their bid."

Earlier today, contractors from 17 telecom construction companies received details to bid on broadband Internet expansion projects in Ind. and Mich. TDS Telecommunications Corp. (TDS®) hosted the pre-bid meeting this morning to outline project plans that will expand broadband networks in parts of Ind. and Mich. Bids are due to TDS in about two weeks.

The projects, funded in part through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, were awarded to TDS by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Once complete, more than 1,400 customers in the areas served by TDS’ phone companies (outlined today), will have access to a high-speed Internet connection. The areas impacted include:

NOTE: click on company name above for map detailing where high-speed Internet services will be expanded.

More than 93 percent of TDS customers nationwide currently have Internet access. The remaining seven percent are harder to reach and more difficult to provide high-speed Internet services. There are many reasons for this, including the sparse population and topography. These rural geographies push the limits of technology and make it difficult, albeit nearly impossible to develop a solid business case for deploying broadband. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides companies like TDS a window of opportunity to expand broadband services to residents in areas that are currently without access to a reliable high-speed Internet connection.

“Today’s meeting is a critical piece to getting this network built,” says Larry Boehm, director of Network Implementation and Optimization for TDS. “We outlined the project and the timelines. Now, contractors have a chance to submit their bid and demonstrate they can meet the project expectations on deadline. We’re looking to hire the firms quickly so construction can get underway this spring. Our customers are ready and waiting for access to high-speed Internet service.”

Background:
In February 2009, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; it was signed by President Obama shortly after passage. In August 2009, TDS submitted 13 applications for broadband funding. In December 2009 and January 2010, TDS was awarded two grants totaling $12.5 million from the RUS (one of the two federal agencies administering the federal broadband stimulus program) to expand broadband access in Chatham, Mich. and Butler, Ala.

In March 2010, TDS submitted 46 applications for round two funding consideration. In August, TDS was awarded 42 grants (including the four Ind. projects and the Mich. project) bringing the company’s total awards to 44 and nearly $136 million to expand high-speed Internet services in 20 states. Engineering firms were selected and announced in February 2011, and now pre-bid meetings are taking place. Construction on many sites will begin this spring. Most networks will be completed in 2012 and the remaining in 2013.

TDS Telecommunications Corp. (TDS®) is the seventh largest telecom provider in the U.S. For more than 40 years, the company has been connecting people with high-speed Internet, phone, and TV entertainment services in hundreds of rural, suburban, and metropolitan communities across 30 states. Today, TDS has more than 1.1 million equivalent access lines in service and 2,700 employees. Business customers select from the latest technologies, including: VoIP (managedIP) phone service, dedicated Internet, data networking, and hosted-managed services. Visit tdstelecom.com or tdsbusiness.com for more information.

TDS Telecommunications Corp. also manages the operations of VISI Incorporated, TEAM Technologies, and OneNeck IT Services Corp. through TDS Hosted & Managed Services, LLC. These companies employ more than 350 people who specialize in providing hosted application management, managed hosting, cloud services, and next generation data centers. Visit visi.com, team-companies.com, and oneneck.com for details.

TDS Telecommunications Corp. headquartered in Madison, Wis. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. [NYSE: TDS, TDS.S]. A Fortune 500® company, Telephone and Data Systems provides wireless, local and long-distance telephone and broadband services to approximately 7 million customers in 36 states through TDS Telecommunications Corp. and U.S. Cellular [NYSE: USM], its 84-percent owned wireless subsidiary. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Chicago, Telephone and Data Systems employed 12,300 employees as of Sept. 30, 2011. Visit teldta.com for investor information.

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Cindy Tomlinson

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