Member Profile: TDS Telecom

With $67 million invested in Tennessee broadband, TDS Telecom is a corporate player in the national communications market committed to serving rural areas.

“In today’s world, it is broadband, more broadband and more broadband,” says Bruce Mottern, the TDS Telecom manager for state government affairs in Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio.

The company, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Telephone and Data Systems Inc., has about 60,000 connections in Tennessee. Nationally, it serves about 900 communities.

The company has been in Tennessee since 1975, and it now employs about 200 people in the state. It operates Tellico Telephone Company, Tennessee Telephone Company, Concord Telephone Exchange Inc., and Humphreys County Telephone.

TDS Telecom services 24 exchanges in Tennessee, covering more than 2,500 square miles, Mottern says. The counties include Wayne, Perry, Decatur, Wilson, Rutherford, Davidson, Humphreys, Monroe, McMinn, Knox and a small portion of Carroll and Henderson.

The company is receiving funds from the Federal Communications Commission Connect America Fund to help it improve and expand broadband service to more than 16,000 homes and businesses in the state, Mottern says.

The FCC allocated an average of $7.25 million annually for the next 10 years to reach residents in some of the hardest to serve areas in Tennessee. The funding will also be used to maintain a voice and broadband network as well as to build out to these locations.

“We are proud to be part of this massive rural broadband modernization project with the FCC,” Mottern says.

The company also advocated that the state provide funding, in the form of grants through the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act. The effort is a push to bring broadband to underserved communities.

TDS Telecom, headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, was formed and is comprised of telephone companies across the country. TDS employs more than 2,800 people and provides up to 1 gigabit internet speeds, as well as phone and TV entertainment services to rural, suburban and metropolitan communities.

Jim Butman was recently named the president and chief executive officer of TDS Telecom.

“Jim is a highly seasoned and effective leader,” says LeRoy T. Carlson Jr., president and CEO TDS Telecom’s parent company. “He has excellent business instincts and industry experience that are critical to leading TDS Telecom smartly into the future. I have the utmost confidence that Jim will successfully accomplish the long-term vision and strategic plan for TDS Telecom through continued focus on delighting customers.”