TDS(r) Opens Bid Process for Broadband Stimulus Bids Project in Minn., Wis. 34 Construction Companies Attended Pre-bid Meetings This Week; Bids Due by Mid-Feb.

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This week, TDS Telecommunications Corp. (TDS®) hosted three pre-bid meetings. The company outlined 12 projects that will expand the company’s broadband network to more than 8,300 customers in parts of Minn. and Wis.

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We intend to offer our customers high-speed Internet service as soon as possible,” says Larry Boehm, director of Network Implementation and Optimization for TDS.

This week, TDS Telecommunications Corp. (TDS®) hosted three pre-bid meetings. The company outlined 12 projects that will expand the company’s broadband network to more than 8,300 customers in parts of Minn. and Wis. Contractors from 34 telecom construction companies attended the meetings and received details to bid on the broadband Internet expansion projects.

In total, TDS received funding for 44 projects from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act via the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

The 12 projects highlighted this week will expand high-speed Internet services in the following areas:

  •     Arvig Telephone Company in Minn. {areas impacted are near Hackensack, Backus, Pine River, Pequot Lakes, Swanburg, and Graf., Minn.}
  •     Badger Telecom, LLC in Wis. {area just north of Sherwood; areas surrounding (not including) Neillsville; area north of Greenwood}
  •     Central State Telephone Company, LLC in Wis. {area east of Nekoosa; area north of New Lisbon; areas east, west and south of Vesper; areas south and east of Junction City}
  •     EastCoast Telecom of Wisconsin, LLC in Wis. {areas east, west, and south of Valders; an area just south of Reedsville; an area south of Cleveland}
  •     Midway Telephone Company, LLC in Wis. {areas around Medford}
  •     Scandinavia Telephone Company, LLC in Wis. {an area north of Iola; areas around Scandinavia}
  •     Stockbridge & Sherwood Telephone Company, LLC in Wis. {an area around Tisch Mills; an area just east of Hilbert}
  •     Grantland Telecom, LLC in Wis. {area just north and south of Bagley; areas north, east and west of Mt. Hope; and an area south of Woodman}
  •     The Farmers Telephone Company, LLC in Wis. {area including Glen Haven; area north of Cassville; area north of Beetown; an area west of Dickeyville}
  •     Riverside Telecom, LLC in Wis. {areas north, south and east of Reeseville}
  •     Southeast Telephone Co. of Wisconsin, LLC in Wis. {area east and south of Wind Lake; north of Waterford}
  •     UTELCO, LLC in Wis. {areas around Monroe}

NOTE: click here to view local maps; select the company name and the local map will open, detailing where high-speed Internet services will be expanded.

Today, more than 93 percent of TDS customers nationwide have Internet access. The remaining seven percent are in rural areas that push the limits of technology and make it difficult, albeit nearly impossible, to develop a solid business case for deploying broadband. Funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provide companies, like TDS, a window of opportunity to expand broadband services to residents currently without access to a reliable high-speed Internet connection.

“We intend to offer our customers high-speed Internet service as soon as possible,” says Larry Boehm, director of Network Implementation and Optimization for TDS. “In fact, our goal is to have the outdoor construction portion of our Wisconsin and Minnesota projects completed by the end of the year. These pre-bid meetings are the first visible step in the process. With the project details and timelines in hand, the contractors have a short window to generate and submit their bids. Contracts will be awarded as quickly as possible, so construction can begin this spring.”

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. Complete details at http://www.tdstelecom.com/MediaRoom/StimulusFunding.aspx.

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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