Recently we had a chance to catch up with Scott Brooks, Manager, State Government Affairs at TDS, about where things are with the implementation of their Connect America Funds (CAF) project in our area.
In 2017, TDS announced that it was expanding broadband to more than 1,000 locations in Vermont thanks to CAF. An average of $263,655 a year was to be allocated for 10 years to bring most of TDS customers in Vermont to broadband speeds of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps Up (25/3). Those in more challenging geographic locations, or in the “pucker brush” as Brooks likes to refer to them, will receive broadband services at lower speeds of 10/1 and 4/1 Mbps.
One of the things that Brooks stressed was that these speeds will be consistent, regardless of time of day, as a result, even with lower speeds than desired, the service should be much improved. Brooks gave his own home as case in point, I have 7M at my home from Consolidated and my kids play Xbox and talk to their friends while my wife and I are on our computers and/or using Wi-Fi for our cell phones.
The new system eliminates the “back haul” issue, which was responsible for clogged lines so that speeds could significantly vary by time of day.
While fiber is being wired to the six cabinets that serve Cavendish and Proctorsville along with the central office (Tarbell Hill, Cavendish Pointe, Center Rd., Twenty Mile Stream, Cavendish Gulf Rd and Chubb Hill) it will be a copper over system to the home from the cabinet.
When asked why not wire fiber to the home, which is what VTel provides to their landline customers, Scott said that their continued research shows that the majority of customers purchase 25/3 or lower service so it’s not worth paying the extra money to wire fiber to the homes only to have customers opt for plans with lower speeds.
In addition, it is now possible, once the system is in place, to use “pair bonding” and “vectoring” to more than double speeds. In fact, there are now TDS customers in Cavendish who are getting speeds of 100M using these techniques. You can learn more about advances being made using existing phone lines at The Latest Broadband Technologies Up the Ante on Speed.
If you are within the 3-mile zone of a cabinet (listed above) you will be able to receive 25/3M with slower speed plans still available. Note that TDS customers in the villages are currently receiving flyers for 50M service for $39.95 when bundled with phone.
Broken down by “cabinets” this is where things are today into the fall:
Tarbell Hill/Cavendish Pointe: This area was upgraded 2 years ago and some subscribers are opting for 100 Mbps and getting it.
Center Rd/20 Mile Stream: All the wiring is done and they are starting the mergers. This will happen between midnight and 6 am and should be operational by June 1. Local techs are doing this.
Cavendish Gulf Rd/Chubb Hill: They are just now doing the wiring to the cabinets from the Central Office. Merging should start this fall, with improved speeds to follow.
Not sure how much Internet speed you need? Try one of the online calculators to determine what is appropriate for your home.