This could use a little clarification. In the "old" days, the backhaul from the DSLAMs to the Windstream IP network was run over ATM network. This was fine 10 years ago, but the throughput for ATM has not increased anywhere near the rate of Ethernet. Ethernet is the same standard that is used in a wired LAN, and as you probably know it can hit speeds of 1 Gb in that application. However also available (mostly in datacenters) is 10 Gb. 40 Gb and 100 Gb Ethernet are now starting to become prominent in the Internet's core as well. Ethernet can run over both copper (Cat5e for 1 Gb, Cat6 for 10 Gb, very short runs on TwinAx cable for 40 and 100 Gb) or OM3/OM4 Fiber for long runs.
Anyway my point is that ATM has two primary problems that I can tell: 1) Adds a lot of overhead to what is essentially an Ethernet connection already 2) Does not scale bandwidth sufficiently to allow Windstream to increase end user connection speeds
Switching to a purely ethernet network will allow them to reduce overhead and increase total bandwidth into the neighborhoods by plugging in one or multiple 1 Gb Ethernet links to the DSLAMs... Although to me if you are going to spend any money at all overhauling your network, just man up and start deploying fiber to the home across the board. Any other capital outlay is completely wasted because you will just have to redo it again in a few years.
Buy it once, buy it for life.
Disclaimer: I do not consider myself an expert in this area, I have just enough knowledge to look either really smart or really stupid, depending on who I am talking to. If someone wants to correct any of this, please feel free --
user formerly known as 'bsc'