Rising independent ILEC stars

U.S. ILEC rising starsWhen I think of the past year in the wireline industry, what comes to mind is not just the down economy but the ongoing M&A and innovative nature of the U.S. independent wireline service providers.

The past two years has been a time of transition for these service providers. While their larger counterparts, the RBOCs--with the exception of Qwest Communications--have had a large wireless business to fall back on, many other independent ILECs (incumbent local exchange carriers) have seen their traditional voice revenue decline.

To combat dwindling PSTN subscribership to cable and wireless and an unforgiving economic environment, the three largest independent ILECs you're going to read about below have been converging on new service paths.

Some independent ILECs, however, have taken more aggressive steps by engaging in some much-needed M&A. On this end, we're talking about Windstream, Frontier and CenturyLink--all of which are going about the process differently.

In addition to three of the largest independents, we're also paying tribute to two innovative smaller service providers--Canby Telcom and SureWest--that have been aggressively rolling out an advanced set of fiber-based broadband and even IPTV services.

Of course, we want your feedback. Please keep in mind that FierceTelecom mainly covers the U.S. wireline industry so our selections are U.S.-based service provider executives.--Sean