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Windstream to Slow Broadband Expansion
CEO Admits Limited Competition Makes Upgrades Optional
by Karl Bode 03:53PM Wednesday Feb 27 2013
Windstream CEO Jeff Gardner told investors last week that the company will be slowing down broadband expansion as 2013 rolls forward. After a recent modest expansion, some Windstream customers can get speeds up to 24 Mbps if they're lucky, but huge swaths of the company's footprint remain stuck on much slower DSL courtesy of no competition, something Gardner acknowledged to investors.

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"Our residential customers remain concentrated in very rural areas where there is less competition, which has contributed to a more stable consumer business," Gardner admitted.

Lucky them.

Keep in mind, this slow down in expansion comes as Windstream is busy lobbying for a new bill in Georgia that would prohibit any town or city from deploying broadband if just one person in a census zip code can get 1.5 Mbps DSL. In other words, Windstream won't upgrade you -- but they won't let you upgrade yourself, either.

Lucky you.

There's a significant swath of these kinds of markets all across the country, where a lazy regional phone monopoly considers a $45-$75 (if bundled with phone) 1.5 Mbps DSL line the pinnacle of modern connectivity, while using regulatory capture to literally write anti-competitive state laws. They're exactly the sort of places that hired industry pundits like to pretend don't exist.

topics flat nest 

Austin, TX
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL

Cable companies should capitalize on this

No, not by rolling out infrastructure to areas served only by Windstream. But by selling 100 Mbps fiber pipes in town to wireless ISPs. Make 'em sign a noncompete in exchange for a less expensive price for bandwidth (heck, make it a price per subscriber) and profit.

Many Windstream areas are stuck at 3 Mbps down, 768 kbps up. It's not difficult at all to push 5/1 over wireless...


Re: Cable companies should capitalize on this

Couple problems with that. First, no one in their right mind would sign a contract that says they can't compete with a cable company because that cable co can then just come in at any time and kick the WISP out. The cable co would never sign a contract that works both ways "just in case" they later decide they want to offer service in the town after all. Second, how exactly would the cable co profit? Running fiber miles and miles is very, very expensive which is why it costs so much and, unlike residential connections, this line is likely to be heavily loaded and thus they won't be able to oversubscribe the equipment/infrastructure/upstream links it's connected to.

So, the cable company would be locking themselves out of an area and losing money on a fiber line to gain what exactly? Pressure on a competitor who's not a threat to anyone?


Austin, TX

Re: Cable companies should capitalize on this

The cableco would be running fiber to a tower within their footprint. Then the WISP gets to backhaul out from there.

Saint Matthews, SC


At least this scumbag can admit why his company is still garbage. Sadly the same reason for craptastic service and sub par speeds is the same reason they still are in business. Until the real issue of competition is addressed the consumer will continue to get screwed.



lack of competition isn't very American

You'd think that in a capitalistic system, more competition would be favored. I think American style capitalism is more similar to communistic practices, at least as far as broadband services go: everyone gets crappy access, so they all get treated the same, just like communism, but the prices are VERY capitalistic. And going out of your way to trap citizens to prevent them from finding alternatives, in effect putting a wall up, is so East Berlin it isn't funny.

And capitalism is supposed good for the society according to the mantra they keep spewing out, yet clearly that's not the case for broadband service.

What's a good term to describe that?

Washington, IL
·MTCO Communicati..
·Frontier Communi..

Re: lack of competition isn't very American

The term you're looking for is "Crony Capitalism", and it is reviled by true capitalists. See Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" for some good examples.

It's also similar to what many Chinese companies are, where it's owned by a government bureaucrat/insider/military unit.

We are increasingly seeing this in DC, with both Democrats and Republicans. We have seen it for decades in Chicago.


Bronx, NY
you are so right we had that same issue with cellphone contracts until people wise up and the gov step in to allow cell numbers transfer without paying penalties and such. thats why we have tons of cell phone companies.

Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Tulsa, OK
It's because we don't have a real capitalist system. We have a system of Corporatism, where profits and existing Corporate interests triumph citizen's rights, or consumers, and margins are protected in the name of "national security."
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini


I feel sorry

for all those people on DSL. Once I finally had a cable modem I have never looked back. I just can't imagine having speeds that slow again.

In fact that is why I use Verizon's LTE service. On more than one occasion I have gotten 24 Mbps down and 15 Mbps up. I hate paying so much every month, but it is worth it.

Luckily these people don't use much data on a 1.5 Mbps connection. When Verizon Wireless starts selling HomeFusion in these areas DSL won't have a chance, even with the extremely low caps.

Cairo, GA

What do you know

This just so happens to coincide with the letter I sent him and all other members of the board Monday. I stated that anywhere you don't have competition you refuse to upgrade, the whole time telling people that you are upgrading. You are upgrading but only people you stand to lose to the cable company. You company wants to protect itself from future expansion in rural areas by local counties banding together and expanding. We already have a city run cable company but at this time it does not come out our way.

Windstream knows the moment the people they have been taking advantage of for all these years in rural areas have another choice they are leaving without thinking twice, right now they are milking the old equipment for all it is worth and spending the stimulus money on protecting themselves in cities where they stand to lose people.

Grinnell, IA


This makes Mediacom look like a Triple A provider.
Can Windstream get ANY worse?

Far Beyond Driven
Newark, OH

Yep, TWC in my area doesn't need to worry...

So Windstream is the only alternative broadband provider in my city other than TWC. No wonder TWC doesn't have much incentive to improve their service in the area when their only competitor basically admits they aren't interested in competing. How wonderful for both of them to just aim for the floor instead of the ceiling.
In relative terms life is shorter than the blink of an eye. Remember that each and every day because in the end it's not about what you've done but how you've lived.

Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Tulsa, OK

Huh, didn't know it was possible- Windstream to move slower?

Considering their amazing (not) speed of bringing low speed DSL and not upgrading it, I find it amazing it would be possible to slow down further. Maybe that would be switching from "slow" to "stop"?
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

Danielsville, GA

Look at what I got in the Direct Forum today!

We acknowledge that you, and other customers in your area, are experiencing internet issues due to the tremendous growth in internet usage in the past few years. While Windstream does strive to upgrade its network to address market conditions, unfortunately, some of our customers, like yourself, are served by some of our remote switches that are currently not approved for upgrades or improvements in 2013. Windstream will do what it can to obtain the funding and make improvements in 2014.
Specialist II
Broadband Tier II

Fort Mc Coy, FL

Re: Look at what I got in the Direct Forum today!

Looks like the canned response from here on out. I got the same thing today.