HELENA — TDS, a telecommunication company building fiber internet in the state, celebrated its service expansion into Helena at their new warehouse this Tuesday.
“This is all an investment we’re making because we think Montana deserves fiber competition, and we’re going to be the ones to provide it,” says Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for TDS, Drew Petersen.
Less than 4% of Montana’s population can access the internet through fiber Internet, and nearly 1/3 of residents have no Internet access for personal use, according to Broadband Search. Expanding Montanan’s access to broadband is a part of the governor’s Montana Comeback Plan.
Lieutenant Governor Kristen Juras and other local leaders were on hand for the launch. Juras says broadband access is critical to a number of Montana businesses, schools, and organizations.
“And that’s, we have learned, is essential for our education systems. We’ve learned that many employees can effectively work remotely. The governor has asked a lot of past Montana residents to consider moving back home, graduates from our Montana colleges, and they can do that and work remotely,” says Juras.
In 2021, TDS offered its services in Billings with its 500-mile fiber optic internet cable. They are now beginning the process of expanding to more Montana cities and investing in millions of dollars worth of infrastructure and jobs in Butte, Missoula, Great Falls, and now Helena. They are projecting to connect up to 27,000 homes and businesses in the Helena area.
During the celebration, TDS also hand-delivered a $5,000 donation to the Montana Learning Center.