Reliable internet speeds have been and continue to be an issue for Town of Vermont residents who are serviced by TDS. Residents have, for quite some time, taken it upon themselves to contact TDS and express their dissatisfaction with the service being provided; however these efforts by individuals have yet to yield any results. To the contrary, TDS began stating outright to several residents that they have no intention of investing in improvements to the infrastructure in the Town of Vermont. In the summer of 2015, the Town Board identified that this growing issue needed a consolidated effort in order to produce results.
Residents have expressed concerns regarding the impact of slow internet on education for children due to the heavy use of online tools for homework and projects. Additionally, concerns have been raised regarding the impact to property values due to individuals not wanting to move out to the Town of Vermont because of the unreliable internet.
What Has Been Done So Far
To better understand the extent to which internet speed is an issue in the township, the Town Board first conducted a survey throughout August and September 2015 of internet speeds within the town. The responses indicated that residents serviced by MHTC do not typically have issues with their internet speed; however, the residents serviced by TDS do have issues with speed. The average download speed for residents with TDS who responded to the survey was 1.94 Mbps and the median download speed for responders was 1.47 Mbps.
Doug Meier, Town Board Supervisor, has been leading the charge on this issue on behalf of the Town Board and town residents. He engaged Congressman Mark Pocan’s office to assist with research into FCC grants and guidance regarding strategies to employ in order to have our issue heard. In October of 2015, the Town Board for the Town of Vermont passed a resolution of no confidence in TDS.
The resolution attracted attention from TDS leadership as well as surrounding communities and most recently the Dane County Board of Supervisors who passed their own resolution related to issues with internet service in rural communities within Dane County.
- The Federal Communications Commission has made some changes so that rate of return service providers, like TDS, can now be eligible for funding. Additionally, an increase in the amount of funding is available.
- Continue discussions with TDS leadership regarding available funding sources, federal grants and their plans for improving service in our area. The current plan for improving service in our, when funding becomes available, would provide internet speeds of 10-20 Mbps.
- Some residents have made the choice to switch from TDS to satellite internet service; however this option may not be viable for all residents depending on how much data your household uses