Council gives final nod to TDS fiber-optic network
By Joe Bachman
STEVENS POINT — Council members gave the final approval for TDS Metrocom to install a high-speed fiber-optic network in Stevens Point on Monday night.
While this allows TDS to offer 1 Gigabit speeds to area residents, there much more to it than just a provided service. According to the city/TDS agreement, the deal comes at essentially no-risk to the city. The city will not send taxpayer money to TDS in regards to the deal, and instead layers incentives for the company dependent on how many local customers they grab.
The goal is to attract not only new customers, but new businesses to the city for the high-speed service, and TDS will not receive any payments from the city until they start billing customers. While the city already collects approximately $260,000 in franchise fees through other providers, this deal would have the city return $400,000 in fees back to TDS only when the requirements of finished installation and hitting the $400,000 mark in franchise fees, or 10 years of service, are met.
As another part of the deal, TDS will take the franchise fees collected from customer billing, and send those funds back to the city for use of the city’s property for infrastructure. The $12 million dollar fiber-optic network will take approximately 12-18 months to install, most of which will be underground. City officials have begun the surveying process so that installation can begin in spring in hopes that services will be available in the fall.
“I had a constituent ask a couple of questions about this and was delighted this is happening.” said District 8 Alder Cathy Dugan.
Other alders echoed these sentiments and the motion passed 11-0.