Windstream Company Profile

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Company Profile

by Faulkner Staff

Docid: 00021173

Publication Date: 2108

Report Type: VENDOR


Windstream, founded in 1988, offers residential and business voice, data, and video
services. Based in Little Rock, Arkansas, it has a footprint of approximately 170,000
fiber route miles. In February 2019, a court ruled that it owed $310.5 million USD to
one of its bondholders. In June 2020, Windstream received court confirmation for its
plan of reorganization, and in September of that year the company successfully completed
its financial restructuring process, emerging as a private company and reducing its debt by over $4 billion. This report
discusses Windstream’s strategy, product lines, and activity.

Report Contents:

Fast Facts

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Name: Windstream
4001 N. Rodney Parham Road
Little Rock, AR 72212
Phone: 501-748-7000; 800-347-1991
Type of Vendor: Cable and Communications Service Provider
Founded: 1943 (as Allied Telephone Company), 2006 (as
Service Areas: 46
Stock Symbol: WINMQ (OTC Pink)

EarthLink Company


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Windstream, based in Little Rock, Arkansas, provides IP-based voice and
data services, MPLS networking, data centers with managed hosting
services, and communication systems for businesses and government agencies
as well as broadband (DSL), digital phone, and high-definition television
services to residential customers. Windstream’s service areas include
approximately 170,000 route miles of long-haul fiber.

History & Milestone Events

In 1943, Allied Telephone Company was founded in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The company grew to eventually offer service in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and
Missouri. In 1983, Allied Telephone Company merged with Mid-Continent
Telephone Company of Ohio to form Alltel. The combined company included
842,000 customer lines and was ranked as the fifth largest local telephone
company in the US. In 1993, Alltel acquired GTE’s Georgia service area
including 320,000 customer lines and the company’s directory publishing
business. Alltel began offering self-branded long-distance service to its
customers as part of a bundle plan in 1996. It merged with Standard
Group, Inc., a Georgia based telecom provider, in 1999. Then in 2000, it
acquired the telephone assets of GTE Southwest Corp.

The Windstream corporation was officially formed in 2006 through the
spinoff of Alltel’s landline business and subsequent merger with Valor
Telecom; the resulting company included 3.4 million access lines across 16
states. Windstream then began trading on the New York Stock Exchange and
is listed on the S&P 500. In February 2017, it merged with EarthLink
in an all-stock transaction. The companies have retained the Windstream

A timeline of significant events in Windstream’s history is provided

  • 2007 – Acquired CT Communications for $585 million
    USD, adding 132,000 access lines and 31,000 broadband customers to its North
    Carolina business.
  • 2008 – Laid off a total of 370 employees over the
    course of the year, citing weak economic conditions. It acquired D&E
    Communications for $330 million USD, including approximately 145,000
    access lines, 45,000 high-speed Internet customers, and 9,000 cable TV
    customers in Pennsylvania. It acquired Lexcom, Inc, adding approximately
    22,000 access lines, 9,000 high-speed Internet customers, and 12,000
    cable TV customers in North Carolina. It then moved its stock listing
    from the New York Stock Exchange to NASDAQ.
  • 2010 – Acquired NuVox Inc., adding 104,000 data and
    integrated solution connections in 16 states. It also purchased Iowa
    Telecommunications Services for $1.1 billion USD, using the acquired
    assets to launch services in Iowa and Minnesota for the first time. It
    acquired Hosted Solution, a regional data center and managed hosting
    provider, for $310 million USD, entering the data center business.
  •  2011 – Opened new data centers in Charlotte, North
    Carolina, and Boston, Massachusetts. It laid the first underground fiber
    cables for the broadband stimulus project funded by the American Recovery
    and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
  • 2012 – Reported plans to eliminate approximately
    375-400 management positions, or roughly three percent of its total
    workforce. It purchased PAETEC, a New York-based competitive local
    exchange carrier, for $2.3 billion USD. Following the completion of the
    merger, Windstream’s coverage area grew from 29 to 46 states, and its
    fiber network rose from 60,000 miles to 100,000 miles. The transaction
    has transformed Windstream from a rural telecoms provider with
    relatively sparse coverage areas into a major player in the national
    cable TV and communications service market. 
  • 2014 – Announced plans to spin off some of its
    telecommunications assets into an independent, publically traded real
    estate investment trust (REIT). The REIT will be used to expand
    Windstream’s network and diversify its assets through acquisitions. The
    REIT will also own Windstream’s existing fiber and copper network, as
    well as other fixed real estate assets.
  • 2015 – Windstream Holdings completed this tax-free
    spinoff of select telecommunications network assets into Communications
    Sales and Leasing, Inc.
  • 2016 – Closed the $600 million USD incremental term
    loan and repurchase of $441,096,000 of its 7.875 percent senior notes
    due in 2017.
  • 2017 – Completed its $227.5 million USD purchase of
    Broadview Networks and merged with EarthLink in an all-stock transaction
    valued at approximately $1.1 billion USD. The companies have retained
    the Windstream name, and EarthLink is now a division of Windstream.
  • 2018 – Acquired MASS Communications, a privately-held
    New York-based telecommunications network management company, for
    approximately $37.5 million USD.
  • 2019 – Filed petitions for reorganization under
    Chapter 11 of
    the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to address debt maturities after a court ruled
    that Windstream Services’ 2015 spinoff of select telecommunications
    network assets into a real estate investment trust (REIT) violated
    agreements with its bondholders.
  • 2020 -Teamed with Ciena to build its National
    Converged Optical Network (NCON) with Ciena’s photonic, coherent
    optical, and intelligent software platforms. Announced the successful
    completion of its financial restructuring process, emerging as a privately
    held company.
  • 2021 – The company’s high-speed Internet offering Kinetic accelerates
    its deployment of symmetrical fiber-backed gigabit broadband service, enabling
    129,000 customer locations in the first quarter of 2021; the new fiber builds
    are the first in a multi-year, $2 billion expansion of Kinetic’s network.


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Since its acquisition of EarthLink in 2017, Windstream’s strategy has
been to decrease its dependency on consumer-based revenues and become an
enterprise-focused business. As part of its reorganization under Chapter 11 after a
court ruled in February 2019 that it owed $310.5 million USD to one of its
bondholders, Windstream cut 15 percent of its partner base
while increasing commissions for the remainder. The company received court
confirmation in June 2020 for its reorganization plan, and announced in
September that it would emerge as a privately held company, reducing its debt
by over $4 billion or approximately two-thirds. In addition, the company
claimed it has access to approximately $2 billion in new capital to expand 1Gbps
Internet service in rural America. The company’s current strategy has been
focused on increasing its Kinetic broadband customer base, adding more than
customers in the first quarter of 2021.

Product Lines

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Table 1 outlines Windstream’s residential products and services.

Table 1. Windstream Residential Services




Digital TV Windstream
offers several television plans via its own Kinetic TV app-based service. Digital TV services are available in a standalone
subscription or as part of a bundle. Services include:

  • Local Television Programming
  • Up to 280 High-Definition Cable Channels
  • 30 Commercial-Free Digital Music Channels
  • On-Demand Programming
  • DVR-Capable Set Top Boxes
Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, Frontier Communications, Cox Cable
Home Phone Windstream
offers Voice-over-IP (VoIP)-based home phone service and several
accompanying add-on services as a standalone subscription or as
part of a bundle:

  • Unlimited Local Calling
  • Unlimited Long-Distance Calling to the US
  • Caller ID
  • 3-Way Calling
  • Call Return
  • Voicemail
Comcast, Cox, CenturyLink, Time Warner, Verizon, Skype,
offers several versions of its Kinetic DSL-based broadband Internet
Access. Plan pricing is based on download speeds. High-speed
Internet access can be purchased individually or as part of a
bundle. Plans include:

  • Download Speeds Ranging from 3Mbps to 12Mbps
  • A Free Wireless Modem
  • 5 Email Addresses with 1GB of Storage Each
  • Access to
  • Free 24/7 Tech Support
Cox, CenturyLink,  Verizon, Comcast,  Time Warner
Bundles Windstream offers
bundles of any combination of its residential Digital TV, Home Phone, and
High-Speed Internet service. Bundles feature discounted pricing over
individually purchase services, with bundles including all 3 services offering
the lowest prices.
Cogent, Global Capacity, Cox, Level 3, CenturyLink,

Table 2 outlines Windstream’s Business-Class products and services.

Table 2. Windstream Business Services




Data Center Services Windstream
offers a variety of services originating from its enterprise-class
data centers up and down the east coast of the US. Services

  • Colocation
    • Redundant 2N Standards
  • Cloud Computing
    • Public Cloud Services
    • Private Cloud Services
    • Hybrid Cloud Services
    • Cloud Storage
  • Managed Services
    • Managed Hosting
    • CDN Services
    • Managed Internet
    • Managed Load balancing
    • Managed Switches
    • Managed Security
    • OS Management
    • Database Management
  • Disaster Recovery 
Microsoft, Google, CSC, Rackspace,, AWS, Verizon
Enterprise Solutions Windstream
divides its Enterprise Solution offerings into three categories:

  • Data Solutions
    • Hosted Data
    • Hosted VoIP
    • T1 
    • Managed Network Security
    • Managed Routing
    • Frame Relay
  • Internet Access
    • T1 Dedicated Internet Access
    • Ethernet Internet Access
  • Voice
    • Digital Channelized Service (DCS)
    • Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)
    • Centrex
AT&T, Cogent, Global Capacity, Cox, Level 3, CenturyLink, Verizon, XO Communications, Skype, Vonage, Comcast
Small Business Solutions Windstream offers
several services through its Small Business Solutions division, including:

  • High-Speed Internet Access
  • Local Phone Service
    • Key Lines
    • PBX (Private Branch Exchange) Lines
    • Direct Inward Dialing (DID) Trunks
    • Voicemail
  • Long-Distance
    • Inbound Toll-Free Service
    • Bill Reporting
    • Calling Card Service
Cox, Comcast, CenturyLink, Verizon, Vonage

Major Competitors

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Windstream’s primary rivals include:


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Products and Services

debuted Revolution, a new mass notification tool designed to be used alongside
its Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solutions, or as
a standalone product. The company claims that Revolution is
capable of providing two-way, media-rich voice and image
notifications through on-and-off premise alerts, geofence
notifications, and SMS messages. The company is marketing the
tool to businesses, schools, government agencies, hospitals and
other large organizations with between 250 and 5,000 that need a
way to rapidly distribute alerts to large groups. Additional
information about the new offering can be found at the link


Kinetic Business division introduced its new Cloud Connect solution, a “reliable, fast and highly
secure private access hub that connects directly to third-party
public and private cloud service providers through the business’s
wide-area network, or WAN.” The company claims the new offering
provides better access and more secure transmission of data,
while also creating simpler network architecture for management
purposes. Supported bandwidths range from 50Mbps to 10Gbps.
Windstream is recommending the service to existing SD-WAN and
MPLS architecture operators. Additional information is available
at the link above.


debuted its new WINpod offering, a service within the company’s
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) suite which
promises to provide “100 percent uptime and unparalleled
resiliency for businesses’ critical applications.” The solution
allows clients to move their primary data center to a secure,
Windstream Enterprise-owned and controlled cabinet on-premises.
There, Windstream will utilize “Avaya’s XCaaS technology to
support on-premises data centers and connects to a back-up,
geo-redundant data center in the cloud, providing complete
protection for mission-critical applications such as SpectraLink,
CRM, and local copper/PRI trunking in the event of a network
outage.” Windstream is targeting the healthcare and financial
services industries, in particular those with 500 to 10,000 UC
and contact center seats.


Kinetic Business division announced that it is now offering Professional Services to “remove installation and integration
burdens from customers’ IT staffs.” According to the provider,
its services will optimize customer broadband and internal
networks while also ensuring their compliance with industry
regulations, such as PCI DSS and HIPAA, and their achievement of
provided diagnostic benchmarks. Windstream also promises to
“identify security vulnerabilities before they become breaches
and perform migration and configuration functions.” Additional
information about the new offering can be accessed at the link


announced that its Windstream Wholesale division has added
ultra-high capacity international network access to its offerings
as part of a new agreement with Telxius. Under the terms of the
deal, Windstream’s core network is now connected to the
company’s landing station in Boca Raton, Florida, which serves as
a termination point for Telxius’ South America-1 (SAm-1) cable
system. The cable system includes 25,000 route kilometers that
surround Latin America, including fiber route extensions into
Ecuador, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. Coastal
interconnects are also available across the Caribbean, the
Atlantic, and the Pacific. Windstream has published an updated network map
reflecting the new connections.


revealed that it has deployed its fiber-based gigabit service to
a total of 129,000 new customer locations during the first
quarter of 2021. This update is part of an ongoing, $2 billion
effort to expand the company’s Kinetic broadband network over the
next several years. Windstream noted that, as a direct result of
these new service areas, the company has added a total of 13,000
net new broadband subscribers during the quarter. Windstream’s
ongoing buildout efforts will apparently continue to focus on
rural and underserved areas, with plans to have its offerings
available in “more than 1 million homes and small and
medium-sized businesses” by year’s end.


announced that it will now require customers across 37 states to
use 10-digit dialing when placing a phone call. The new
requirement is part of the company’s effort to support the FCC’s
launch of the 988 National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health
Crisis Lifeline. Windstream customers in affected area codes are
asked to begin dialing the full 10-digit number, regardless of
whether or not it is also located in their current area code,
beginning on April 24, 2021. They must begin using the full 10
digits by no later than July 24, 2021, or their calls will not be
completed. Windstream joins Comcast, which also recently
announced that customers of its VoIP services will be required to
use 10-digit dialing. A full list of affected area codes can be
found within Windstream’s announcement.


announced that its Kinetic Wholesale broadband service will soon
be available in 60,000 new locations. This rollout will be
completed before the end of the first quarter of 2021, and will
encompass a service area spread across a total of 18 states.
Windstream noted this announcement is part of a $2 billion
initiative to “dramatically expand its fiber footprint and
gigabit internet service.” A service map of Windstream’s new and
existing wholesale broadband offerings can be found here.


announced the launch of a new suite of local area network (LAN)
services based on the Cisco
Meraki cloud-managed Wireless LAN framework. The company
claims the benefits of the new release include improved
monitoring and maintenance tools, enhanced campus and branch
switching, instant access to port-level and network-wide policy
changes, and advanced troubleshooting tools. Additional
information about the new suite of tools can be found within Windstream’s press release.


announced that it has submitted an application to the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) to receive $523 million over
10 years as part of the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund
(RDOF) Phase I auction. The company plans to use the funds to
bring fiber-to-the-home internet services to almost 200,000
locations spread across 18 states. Windstream noted in the same
press release that it has “fully met its obligations under RDOF’s
predecessor program, known as Connect America Fund Phase II
(CAF II).” In total, Windstream brought Internet access service
in excess of 10Mbps to 400,000 rural homes across 17 states. The
company now plans to provide download speeds of 25Mbps, or
more, under this new program.


announced that its full range of Kinetic by Windstream services
is now available in a total of 12,900 new homes. The company’s
announcement comes as it nears the end of a year in which it has
added 53,000 new potential customers, with a goal to reach 60,000
before year’s end. The full Kinetic range includes broadband
services, TV, and in-home communications services. Meanwhile,
the company added 325,000 new gigabit broadband service
locations, bringing its fastest services to a total of 12 percent
of its entire fiber footprint. Windstream noted that all of this
is being made possible by a $2 billion initiative to
“dramatically expand [its] fiber footprint and gigabit internet


CIENA announced an
agreement with Windstream under
which it will modernize the company’s Fiber-to-the-Tower (FTTT)
infrastructure. The goal of the deal is to allow Windstream to
“rapidly scale bandwidth for wireless backhaul services while
also expanding its wholesale product service offerings.”
Specifically, multi-Gbps network-protected connections will be
installed in multiple cities across the US. The duo claims their
planned network upgrades will help improve the reliability of
Windstream’s network and its customer experience. Ciena notes
that its installation will also be future-proofed, supporting
forthcoming 5G rollouts via the same infrastructure. No financial
terms for the agreement were disclosed.


CIENA announced an
agreement with Windstream under
which it will modernize the company’s Fiber-to-the-Tower (FTTT)
infrastructure. The goal of the deal is to allow Windstream to
“rapidly scale bandwidth for wireless backhaul services while
also expanding its wholesale product service offerings.”
Specifically, multi-Gbps network-protected connections will be
installed in multiple cities across the US. The duo claims their
planned network upgrades will help improve the reliability of
Windstream’s network and its customer experience. Ciena notes
that its installation will also be future-proofed, supporting
forthcoming 5G rollouts via the same infrastructure. No financial
terms for the agreement were disclosed.


Personnel and Organizational

revealed that it is creating a new “engineering and fiber
construction organization to manage its broadband expansion
across 18 states.” The new division will include the addition of
“nearly 1,000” new jobs, with the main goal being the
proliferation of its Kinetic broadband services. Windstream plans
to honor its current construction project contracts through their
expected end dates in late 2021, and will begin ramping up new
projects in early 2022. The company expects work to commence in
more than 70 locations spread across the aforementioned 18-state
footprint. No timeframe was mentioned for when any of these newly
created networks might be publicly available.


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