Feb. 05--HOLLIS -- Residents in most of Hollis should be able to sign up this week for fiber-to-the-home Internet broadband service and TV from their phone company, now that TDS Telecom has finished its rewiring project.
"This will be one of the first (towns) to launch the product," said Perry Speaker, associate manager of field marketing for the five-state region of TDS.
Hollis is first in line in the region because it already had fiber-optic lines to many homes. TDS mostly had to hook them into a fiber network that fed back into the main system, doing such things as installing optical terminals. TDS initially will offer download speeds of 50 or 100 megabits per second, with expansion to 300 Mbps in the works.
"We started taking pre-orders last month, with installations scheduled to start" after Feb. 6, Speaker said.
TDS owns the phone system in Hollis, Wilton and parts of Lyndeborough because of its 2002 purchase of the Hollis and Wilton Phone Co., which never sold out to the old Ma Bell. Every other town in the region is served by FairPoint Communications.
FairPoint has its own fiber-to-the-home network in Nashua and some other towns, called FAST, which is a legacy of the FiOS network built by Verizon before it sold to FairPoint.
FairPoint has said it has no plans to expand FAST but is concentrating on expanding its DSL broadband service over copper telephone lines.
Speaker said Wilton and Lyndeborough won't be seeing fiber-to-the-home broadband and TV for years, a legacy of the older wiring in those towns. Even before the TDS purchase, Hollis often got infrastructure upgrades before Wilton did.
Hollis has had fiber to many homes for some time, Speaker said, even though it wasn't being used for the ultra-fast Internet speeds that are possible by sending light signals through glass threads, rather than electrons over copper wires.
TDS, based in Wisconsin, has become a multi-billion-dollar company through buying and operating relatively small telephone exchanges, mostly in more rural parts of the U.S. It owns some or all of the phone company in 11 New Hampshire towns; Hollis is the first to get fiber service.
Its push into broadband Internet and television service, which it has branded as Fiberville, is part of a shakeup in communications industries as technology has overthrown traditional industries.
In Greater Nashua, for example, Comcast and Charter cable TV firms offer voice telephone service as well as Internet service and television programming, while FairPoint offers broadband Internet as well as phones and, via satellite services, television.
Both cable TV and telephone companies have seen their traditional businesses decline as Internet-based alternatives spring up, leading their push into each others' terrain.
TDS said it will offer a channel lineup "roughly the same" as area cable firms, with a "complete complement of local channels."
David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashua telegraph.com. Also, follow Brooks on Twitter (@GraniteGeek).
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