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TDS completes its first residential fiber installation in Great Falls

TDS completes its first residential fiber network installation in Great Falls
Posted at 4:21 PM, Mar 13, 2024

Several months ago, TDS launched its fiber network in Great Falls by connecting Falls Family Fun, a new business at 207 Smelter Avenue NE. And now, TDS is celebrating the completion of its first fiber installation in a residential home in Great Falls.

The first residential customer is Ervin “Mitch” Martin, who resides on the north side of Great Falls near Bootlegger Trail.

TDS connects Great Falls home to fiber service

In addition to Great Falls, TDS is also working on their fiber networks in Helena, Butte, Missoula, and Billings.

“TDS Telecom stands for Telephone and Data Systems. We’re a company headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, new to the Great Falls area,” explained Raymond Porter, TDS associate manager of field marketing. “We're building a fiber optic network across the city. [We] started this process a few years ago and we've reached some important milestones with our first customer in 2023, and we just completed our first home here in March of 2024.”

Josh Bakly, associate manager of field services for TDS, said Montana is a big market that they are trying to provide service to: “We are attacking a lot of different areas of fiber optic cable, that is a service that we're providing, and we are one of the first to provide residential fiber optic cable, especially in one of these communities here in Great Falls."

TDS has been working to break into the Montana market for several years and officially launched their services in Great Falls in 2023, bringing high-speed internet as well as a variety of phone and television options.

“Montana in general has been needing some serious competition when it comes to the internet business, there just haven't been enough providers,” said Porter. “TDS was looking at the whole western region of the US and we really think that the people out here deserve the highest quality technology, fiber optic cable. We're able to run internet TV and phone through this new fiber optic network.”

“Fiber optic cable doesn’t use low voltage; it actually uses light. When you get your service to your house or the fiber optic cable itself, it travels through light. We still use wavelengths [and] there's different measurements of wavelengths, and we measure it through decibel, almost like copper, but it does run through light and not voltage,” Bakly explained.

TDS will be installing the fiber network in hundreds of homes this year and are working toward eventually covering the entirety of Great Falls city limits.

“We’ll be at the fair, [and] we’ll be at any Chamber of Commerce events, anything like that. We’re really going to part of the community going forward,” Porter said.

Residents can visit to register for service, monitor the progress of the build, and sign up for notifications about the new service.

There are no specific "start dates," as the project is being built in phases; customers can connect to the new network once work is completed in their neighborhood.