James Taylor, Director of Wholesale Business Solutions, Windstream - Wholesale allstars

When looking at carriers that are seeing strong demand for wholesale bandwidth services, it's unlikely that a tier 2 carriers like Windstream immediately come to mind.

But James Taylor, Director of wholesale business services for Windstream, wants to send a simple message about the tier 2 ILEC: ‘we're not yesterday's telephone company anymore, but we're trying to metamorphose ourselves into a data services network.'

Seeing a growing demand for wholesale carrier and enterprise Ethernet services so earlier this year placed a big $20 million dollar bet on upgrading its fiber network.

Initially targeting business customers in its 16-state ILEC footprint for Ethernet services, Windstream will also extend the network facilities to meet the needs of wholesale customers, including wireless operators.   

And while Taylor admits that the $20 million Windstream allocated to this network is over and above what they initially intended, the burgeoning demand for bandwidth from its wholesale and enterprise customers required a new network investment.

"We recognized it was the right time to make that investment in fiber wherever we can," Taylor said. "It's not focused on just fiber to the tower, but really being focused on who our enterprise customers are, what their needs are. The next-generation Ethernet services are starting to gain some good traction so we're looking at that from the wholesale perspective."

On the wireless backhaul side, Windstream is taking a be-prepared approach. To date, Windstream has pre-qualified several cell sites based on existing facilities at the site and proximity to its fiber to the sites.

"Wireless carriers are helping us focus and what we're doing right now is identifying our priority sites so when we're building fiber they're ready to accept it and we're ready to terminate it and roll the services off of the existing copper and onto fiber," Taylor said.

In addition to wireless backhaul, Windstream will be in making sure the network upgrade goes on time and then keeping up with all of the various Ethernet standards permutations for handoffs. This becomes a big challenge especially when selling wholesale services to various carriers all of which have their own Ethernet handoff methodologies.

"We've been working through the technical specs with those handoffs and some carriers have very meticulous guidelines how they exchange Ethernet traffic, which is still evolving in the industry," Taylor said.

James Taylor, Director of Wholesale Business Solutions, Windstream - Wholesale allstars