Rural Broadband

TDS Telecommunications LLC has chosen to receive Enhanced Alternative Connect America Cost Model (E-ACAM) support from the Federal Communications Commission.

The federal broadband program requires the deployment of at least 100/20 Mbps internet service to consumers who currently lack that service. TDS plans to accept the funding in all 24 states that it serves.

TDS has been part of the original A-CAM program since its inception in 2016. With the extended plan, TDS said it needs to deploy high-speed internet to more than 270,000 locations, with about 40% of unserved addresses not receiving federal support.

The company has been advocating enhancing the ACAM program as a member of the ACAM Broadband Coalition for the last two years. Over the summer, the FCC followed the coalition’s advice and established the E-ACAM program, with higher speed requirements in comparison with the traditional ACAM program.

Providers accepting the offer will get more time and more money to complete deployments. If the agency had not created E-ACAM, areas that providers are building out through the traditional ACAM program could have been eligible for BEAD funding just a few years later.

As TDS put it, the E-ACAM program will provide “15 years of predictable support for TDS’s deployments while aligning network deployment requirements with the federal Broadband Equity Access & Deployment (BEAD) program.”

“It is a landmark day for TDS and our customers. With this program, TDS and the federal government are ensuring quality, high-speed internet in our rural service areas,” Drew Petersen TDS senior vice president of corporate affairs, said in a prepared statement.

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