McFarland residents will soon see yellow construction branded hangers as TDS Telecom moves in to finish installation.
TDS Telecom business development manager Josh Worrell gave a presentation at the village board meeting Aug. 12 to give an update on fiber installation efforts.
TDS Telecom plans to install 15 miles of pipe this month and complete the project by the end of the year as the company moves into phase two of installation. They plan to enable 3,700 addresses by January and an additional 2,200 addresses in April or May depending on the upcoming winter’s weather.
TDS Telecom was installing fiber through pipes using existing underground utilities last year during phase one of installation but experienced delays due to floodwater in other areas and the inability to work out an agreement with Alliant Energy to use their poles.
The original phase one plan was to install fiber in underground pipes to supply services to two-thirds of the village. The remaining third would receive services through aerial wires attached to existing Alliant Energy poles.
According to the village board’s issue summary, “(TDS Telecom) found that most of Alliant’s poles are not compliant to today’s standards and had to be replaced in order to add more wires on.”
The poles were either not stable enough to hold the extra weight or did not have room for additional wires without moving existing wires from Charter Communications and Frontier Communications.
TDS Telecom and Alliant Energy could not work out an agreement on a co-location and has decided to no longer partner.
“To take fate back in our own hands, we are moving our construction back to buried,” Worrell said.
All aerial wires that were planned to be installed will now be buried. If an access point pedestal has already been installed, TDS Telecom is finished with that residence, but Worrell noted each situation may vary.
“We started this initiative in August of 2018 with the goal of rapidly building out the village and aggressively selling the village and we have not met those goals,” Worrell said. “We have fallen short of many different reasons, some of them unforeseeable, some of the foreseeable. We are trying to move forward now.”
Some residents have been waiting 12 months for service after committing to TDS Telecom.
“One of the main issues that we’ve had has been our communication,” he said.
TDS Telecom has been working with Village Administrator Matt Schuenke to improve communication with residents.
The TDS Telecom branded door hanger has been switched to a construction branded door hanger. TDS Telecom will also send direct mail to addresses within the construction zone in case the door hanger blows off, which has been a common complaint of village residents.
Each mailer has a number to TDS Telecom for residents to call that goes directly to the contractor so TDS Telecom can address complaints.
“We really need people to reach out if construction in their neighborhood is not up to the standards that they’d expect,” Worrell said.