Windstream: Net Neutrality will hamper broadband rollouts

Jeff Gardner, CEO of independent rural ILEC Windstream, is not happy about the FCC's proposed Net neutrality rules. Similar to its ILEC brothers Qwest, CenturyLink and Verizon, Windstream also decided to opt out of the first round of the broadband stimulus race, and Gardner thinks that the FCC's proposed net neutrality rules will inhibit broadband growth. The only large independent ILEC that did apply for the funding was Frontier, but that application is limited to its West Virginia market.

Now, Windstream wants to take its case to Capitol Hill in Washington. Its mission: get the rules changed, because they will keep the service providers that could make the best use of the funding from participating. "Qwest, Windstream, Frontier, CenturyLink - we're going to get the most bang for the money," Gardner said in an interview with Telephony last week. "If it was easy to throw up a tower out there and provide broadband in rural America, we would have done it by now. The economics are very challenging, and we've got networks out there that can be extended."

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