Windstream's credit change for broadband stimulus funds won't affect ratings

Windstream's (Nasdaq: WIN) plans to amend its credit facilities in order to help it get broadband stimulus funding grants to extend broadband to remote areas won't affect its credit ratings.

Earlier this month, Windstream sought lender consent to change its senior credit facilities to get broadband stimulus grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, Windstream received authorization to increase its senior secured leverage capacity.

Like its other ILEC counterparts AT&T, CenturyLink, Qwest and Verizon, Windstream also did not apply for the first round of broadband stimulus funding, but after the RUS and USDA made some changes to the application rules it applied.

Jeff Gardner, President and CEO of Windstream said in an interview with FierceTelecom that the funding will enable it extend broadband into areas where it just would not make economic sense.

"I think it makes sense for the administration and us because getting to that last 10 percent of the residential customers was a real challenge," he said. "We had built out broadband to every single customer where the economics justified it. This stimulus money will allow us in the most cost efficient way compared to any of the others that have received the award to build out to that last 10 percent in very rural markets."

For more:
- see the release here
- Bloomberg Business Week via AP has this article

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