Which is bringing new fiber optic internet company to Montana

Choices for connecting to broadband Internet take an interesting turn in Montana this week as a new provider begins building new connectivity options.

It’s a move that will certainly drive choice and could lead to a competitive market that could directly impact what you pay for your connection.

Over a year ago, TDS Telecom received local permits to roll out its fiber optic networks in several Montana cities, including Missoula, Helena, Butte and Great Falls. It has already started laying fiber at Billings. The company, which dates back to 1969, has 1.2 million subscribers in the US

Fiber optic rollout in Montana begins this week

This week, TDS officials are kicking off their service’s arrival in Montana. Tuesday, Lt. Governor Kristen Juras with a ribbon average at the company’s new Helena warehouse, which will be the basis for operations and construction of the capital’s fiber optic buildout.

“It’s rewarding to see this administration’s efforts to make Montana more business-friendly bear fruit. Improving access to reliable broadband is one of our top priorities, and we’re excited to see TDS bringing better connectivity to our communities.” -Lt. Governor Jurass

On Thursday morning, Gov. Greg Gianforte, along with Missoula Mayor Jordan Hess, will cut the ribbon at 11:30 a.m. at the TDS fiber storage facility on Garrymore Lane. The company has met with the city over the past two days to discuss the launch of its connections and services, which include internet, phone and video.

When the system is complete, the company expects to power up to 100,000 homes and businesses nationwide. It has already hired 43 employees and expects to create about 70 jobs in Montana.

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“We chose to expand in Montana because we love Montana; it’s open for business and has great people who make even better TDS people,” Drew Petersen, TDS Senior VP of Corporate Affairs

Fiber optic rollout is a multi-year commitment

According to the company’s Missoula website, “in some areas, construction will take several years”. Interested customers can sign up now, however, and are asked to pay a $25 registration fee, which TDS says will help start installations “once the new fiber network is ready.”

Pricing is expected to range from an “Internet Only” plan for $29 per month with speeds of 300 Mbps for downloads and uploads, to an “Extreme Home Entertainment” package for $129 per month month that includes 1Gbps internet, over 115 digital channels and unlimited phone service. The company says its fiber optic network will reach speeds of up to 8 Gbps.

TDS Telecom officials will discuss their plans during an appearance on “Talk Back” with Peter Christian Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m.

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