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TDS Telecom continues work on fiber-optic network

TDS Telecom continues to pave the way for its expansion of services in the Farragut area by replacing the copper coaxial cable with fiber-optic lines.

The ultimate goal, said TDS Telecom General Manager Jerry Parkerson, is to be able to offer a wide range of services to the residents of Farragut. These services will eventually include telephone service, high-speed Internet access with up to a four-megabyte capacity and possibly video service.

“We are bringing leading edge technology to the town of Farragut,” Parkerson said. “We’re in the process of building the fiber-optic network to be able to do this.”

Currently TDS Telecom offers phone service, DSL and dial-up Internet access through the area, he said.

The conversion to a fiber-optic network will mean residents of Farragut will have options in their services. Parkerson said the advent of new technology, such as computers requiring a higher access speed and high-definition television, means consumers will require more information at higher speeds. The plan is to eventually have the fiber-optic cable connect to an optical network terminal at the customer’s home. The ONT will then translate the light-impulses carried by the fiber-optic network into phone service, Internet service, or whatever service the customer chooses to purchase.

Parkerson said TDS currently has teams establishing the network throughout Farragut. Some of the subdivisions, such as Stone Crest and Linda Heights, have the network in place. Other areas have the fiber-optic cable being installed in addition to the existing coaxial cable.

“This will allow people to have a choice,” he said.

Parkerson said the fiber-optic cable will offer advantages over the current copper coaxial cable. One advantage is glass fiber-optic cable will not be affected by lightning.

Another advantage, said Ernest Joyner, TDS Telecom plant manager, is the fiber-optic cable will not be as subject to corrosion as the coaxial cable. The older coaxial cable required compressed air to be pumped into the lines to keep them dry. If a line broke, water tended to seep in through the break. The fiber-optic cable won’t suffer from such deficiencies.

The fiber-optic system will also reduce the amount of support equipment necessary at central office and substations. Joyner said the support equipment for the coaxial cable requires much more space than fiber-optic cable.

TDS continues to harness technical advancements and expand product offerings.

In 2003, voice, data and video services based on Voice over Internet Protocol, Passive Optical Networks and Wi-Fi were in the planning stages.

Farragut Town Administrator Dan Olson said TDS has an expected completion date of June 2007. The agreement with TDS, he said, specifies that TDS would be able to provide service to customers by that time. It doesn’t specify how many customers.

“They will be finished by that time,” Olson said.


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