TDS Telecommunications Corp. (TDS) is 75-percent finished with its pre-bid meetings during which the carrier has outlined its stimulus-funded projects that will expand broadband Internet access to more than 27,000 rural customers across the country.

Since mid-January, TDS has hosted pre-bid meetings for 30 of its 44 projects. This month, TDS hosted meetings in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Oklahoma to discuss construction needs for nine of its projects.

“The pre-bid meetings get us one step closer to putting shovels in the ground,” says Andrew Petersen, vice president/External Affairs and Communications. “We are committed to delivering fast, reliable Internet services, and we’re getting closer to providing our customers the services they are anxiously awaiting.”

He adds, “In some areas, contracts have been awarded. Now we’re finalizing plans and schedules so we can start digging. Many communities will see construction activity this spring and summer.”

The background: In August 2009, TDS submitted 13 applications for broadband funding. In December 2009 and in January 2010, TDS was awarded two grants totaling $12.5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to expand broadband access in Chatham, Mich. and Butler, Ala.

In March 2010, TDS submitted 46 applications for Round Two funding consideration. In August 2010, TDS was awarded 42 grants (including the four Indiana projects and the Michigan project) bringing the company’s total awards to 44 and nearly $136 million to expand high-speed Internet services in 20 states.

Construction already is underway in Chatham, Mich., and in Orchard Farm, Mo.

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