Windstream: Rural M&A slowing

Windstream just closed its acquisition of fellow rural carrier CT Communications,  but Windstream's CEO said in a speech this week that further rural telecom consolidation isn't likely to happen until at least next year, and that the credit crisis is at least partly to blame.

It seems like consolidation activity never quite touches the rural carrier market. Financial market conditions and overall access line decline have been to blame in the past when deals seemed near but didn't quite happen. Will 2008 be the year that the rural carrier market finally thins out? And if it is, who will be the lucky few carriers actually using M&A to bulk up?

For more:
- read this story in Telephony
- FCC approves Windstream/CT deal