TDS Telecom significantly advances broadband expansion goal
Madison, Wisconsin (November 5, 2021) -- TDS Telecommunications LLC (TDS®) announced that it is moving forward on its primary objective to generate growth by investing in high-speed broadband products and services through leveraging existing networks and constructing greenfield fiber in new markets to expand its footprint. During the company’s third quarter earnings report, the Madison-based telecommunications company reported it grew service addresses 6% from the prior year, launched 2Gig broadband speeds in select markets, and planted the flag in new TDS communities.
“We are significantly advancing our goal to bring state-of-the-art broadband capabilities and competition to more growing communities,” said Vicki Villacrez, senior vice president of Finance and CFO.
During the quarter TDS announced new fiber projects in Wisconsin, Idaho, and North Carolina, and entered the state of Montana. In total, these communities add more than 270,000 additional service addresses to the existing fiber deployment plan.
TDS grew its top line by 2% while planned investment spending on new market launches resulted in lower profitability, as expected. Total residential connections increased 3% due to broadband growth in new and existing markets, partially offset by a decrease in voice connections. Meantime, total broadband residential connections grew by 7%, which generated a 13% increase in broadband revenue. Up to 1Gig broadband speeds are now being offered in 57% of the company’s footprint, including both fiber and DOCSIS 3.1 markets. In addition, a majority of residential customers are taking advantage of bundling options as 63% of TDS customers subscribe to more than one service.
“We are very pleased that where we have invested in fiber in our incumbent markets, we have achieved superior market share, and in our expansion markets, we have strong customer pre-registrations," said Villacrez. “In addition, we continue to drive faster speeds in our more rural incumbent markets by building to meet our A-CAM obligations and utilizing state broadband grants.”
Year to date, TDS completed construction of 51,000 fiber addresses - adding 20,000 service addresses in the third quarter, surpassing 40% of its Wireline service addresses, a key milestone for TDS. Progress is slower than planned due to permitting complexities and contractor scheduling delays, but TDS continues to be bullish on its fiber strategy and how it will transform company in a very meaningful way over the next several years. TDS has upsized the number of expansion markets to build as well as increased fiber builds within its existing footprint.
“Fiber is the most economical long-term solution to deliver the best broadband experience. We continue to refine our market selection criteria and are highly confident in the process,” said Villacrez.