Windstream extends 100 Mbps speeds to consumers, SMBs in 250 markets

Windstream is bringing up to 100 Mbps speeds to nearly 240 markets in 16 states, making its service more competitive with cable operators that are poaching Windstream's growing mix of consumer and small- to medium-sized business customers.

Extending 100 Mbps in these markets comes as Windstream makes progress with shortening its existing copper plant loops and deploying VDSL2 technology with a fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) architecture.

But the 100 Mbps drive is just part of a broader broadband expansion strategy for the service provider. Looking to overcome critics that say its service is too slow, Windstream said during its second quarter earnings call that it would also bring 100 Mbps to nearly 600 more markets by the end of the year.

Besides 100 Mbps, Windstream said during its second quarter earnings call that is on track to make 50-100 Mbps speeds available to nearly one million households and small businesses in more than 850 markets by end of 2015. Part of this figure includes 380,000 existing customers.

There is one catch with the VDSL2 roll out. Being a copper-based technology, actual speeds and availability will vary according to how far away the consumer or SMB resides from the nearest remote terminal or Central Office where it will locate the DSLAM equipment.

As it rolls out VDSL2 and bonding into more communities, the service provider is also looking to shake up TV competition by pursuing cable franchises in a number of markets it serves such as Lexington, Ky. Today, it offers its Kinetic IPTV service in Lincoln, Neb., to 50,000 local residents.

According to a Lexington Herald-Leader report, Windstream is currently waiting to see if the Urban County Council will grant its request to purchase a video franchise agreement, enabling it to compete for video customers with local cable incumbent Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC).

Complementing the VDSL2 and bonding roll outs, the service provider is incorporating 1 Gbps FTTH into its broadband playbook.

Earlier this year, Tony Thomas, CEO of Windstream, told investors that it would it bring a 1 Gbps FTTH service this year to one market with the potential to reach a total of five. The telco plans to leverage existing fiber facilities that it has connected to homes in its territory throughout the past 20 years.

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