Windstream lit up 129,000 new locations with its Kinetic fiber service in Q1 2021, as it pushed toward a goal of extending gigabit capabilities to a total of 1 million homes and businesses by the end of the year.
Its fiber rollouts are part of a previously announced five-year, $2 billion project targeting the expansion of broadband to rural markets across its 18-state footprint. In a letter released in February, CEO Tony Thomas said the initiative began at the start of this year.
In January, Windstream noted it reached a total of 589,000 locations with its gigabit service by the end of 2020. With the Q1 figure factored in, that leaves the company with an additional 282,000 locations to go before it reaches the 1 million mark.
As a private company, Windstream no longer holds public earnings calls. However, Kinetic president Jeff Small noted in a statement “gigabit speeds are becoming increasingly important in an era when many are working remotely or accessing education or healthcare online. Kinetic is investing in its broadband network to meet the growing technology needs of its customers.”
It isn’t the only one investing heavily in fiber. Mediacom recently revealed a plan to push high-speed broadband to an additional 500,000 locations over the next three years, while Charter said it will invest $5 billion in rural deployments over the coming years.
Windstream said in its press release it pulled in 13,000 new Kinetic broadband subscribers in the quarter. That pace is slower than the record 18,000 net additions it posted in Q1 2020.
A company representative told Fierce Windstream has approximately 1.1 million broadband customers. As of end-2020, approximately 25% of its customers were signed on for broadband service tiers offering speeds of 100 Mbps or higher, its year-end report showed.
For comparison, cable giants Comcast and Charter added 461,000 and 355,000 broadband subs in Q1, respectively. Mediacom added 16,000 high-speed data customers and Altice USA added 12,000 residential broadband subscribers in the same period.