TDS(R) Opens Bid Process for Broadband Stimulus Bids Project in Colo. -- 10 Construction Companies Attended Jan. 25 Pre-bid Meeting; Bids Due Early Feb.

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Contractors from 10 telecom construction companies received details yesterday to bid on the broadband Internet expansion project in Colorado. TDS Telecommunications Corp. (TDS®) hosted the pre-bid meeting to outline the project which will expand the company’s broadband network in part of Colorado. Bids are due to TDS by Feb. 9.

“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,” says Larry Boehm, director of Network Implementation and Optimization for TDS.

Contractors from 10 telecom construction companies received details yesterday to bid on the broadband Internet expansion project in Colorado. TDS Telecommunications Corp. (TDS®) hosted the pre-bid meeting to outline the project which will expand the company’s broadband network in part of Colorado. Bids are due to TDS by Feb. 9.

The project is one of 44 TDS has received funding for from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act via the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Once complete, about 540 customers in TDS’ Delta County Tele-Comm, Inc. (outlined yesterday) in Colorado, will have access to a high-speed Internet connection. The areas impacted are around Bowie and Somerset; just south of Cedaredge; south of Hotchkiss; and east/west of Crawford, Colorado. {Click on company name above for map detailing areas 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 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.

“The pre-bid 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 http://www.tdstelecom.com or http://www.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 http://www.visi.com, http://www.team-companies.com, and http://www.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 http://www.teldta.com for investor information.

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Cindy Tomlinson

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