Windstream asks to discontinue legacy telephone services due to low demand, joining AT&T, Verizon

Windstream is looking to weed out more legacy services from its portfolio by asking the FCC for permission to discontinue a host of operator assisted services across its ILEC and CLEC territories.

These services include operator assisted calls requesting Bill to a Third Number, Busy Line Verify, Busy Line Interrupt, Collect Calling, and Person to Person.

In order to prepare users for this change, the service provider provided a notice to affected customers of the planned service shutdown in bills that were sent out during its May 16 bill cycle and concluding with its June 13 bill cycle.

Windstream said that these customers would not be "unduly harmed because they are being provided ample notice of the discontinuance and customers have comparable options at comparable rates from other providers serving the Affected States."

The service provider added, "Windstream believes that the proposed discontinuance is reasonable and necessary. As outlined herein, Windstream will take reasonable steps, to the extent that is able, to assur[e] that the discontinuance of this service is not unduly disruptive to the present or future public convenience and necessity."

Since Windstream provides these services a la carte, the number of customers varies each month, but only about 55 customers in the affected states used the services.

News of their request should not be all that big of a surprise as AT&T (NYSE: T), which provides these services to Windstream on a wholesale basis, asked the FCC for permission to turn them off in January.

At that time, AT&T asked the FCC for permission to discontinue six retail services by the middle of March: collect calling, person-to-person calling, bill to third party, Busy Line Verification (BLV), Busy Line Interruption (BLI), and International Directory Assistance.  

AT&T also asked the FCC for permission to shut down the same services to wholesale customers in June.

Service discontinuance requests from Windstream and its service partners like AT&T and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) have continued to rise in recent years as customers replace legacy services like collect calling with VoIP and mobile services that enable users to connect. At the same time, the infrastructure to support such services is also no longer supported by a service provider's key platform suppliers.

Windstream itself recently requested permission to shut down its VoiceEclipse VoIP Service, which was offered by its U.S. LEC facility in 23 states, but the customer base was tiny, serving only 122 customers in that footprint. Furthermore, the network platform it runs on is no longer offered by Windstream's VoIP and billing vendors.

For more:
- see this FCC filing (PDF)

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