Shareholders of North Carolina's CT Communications are scheduled to vote this Thursday on the pending acquisition of the carrier by rural juggernaut Windstream. This vote follows the Federal Communications Commission's approval of the deal late last week.
Windstream is the second-largest independent telco, and often describes itself as the most rural of large telcos, meaning its customer density per square mile (not the density of each individual customer, mind you) is lower than most telcos. As carrier consolidation continues, market tiers are becoming more distinct.
The two largest carriers (AT&T and Verizon) are arguably in a class by themselves. The third-largest (Qwest) and fourth largest (Embarq) don't have a ton in common, but have most of their local lines outside the top 10 U.S. cities. Then, there's Windstream, and after Windstream, hundreds of telcos that may have customers numbering in the thousands.
Some of the smaller ones--SureWest and Pioneer Telephone come to mind--are known for strategic ingenuity, but the majority are fairly anonymous. It seems unlikely that the consolidation trend will carry through to that tier. What would they have to gain?
- Arkansas News Bureau has more about the Windstream-CT deal in this brief