Windstream's Q1 profit, revenues up; outlook bright

Windstream Corp today said a jump in Internet users helped push it to a 24 percent increase in profits for the first quarter despite slower growth in its residential landline business. Sound familiar? It earned $123.7 million, or 27 cents a share in the quarter, up from $99.9 million, or 21 cents a year ago.

Windstream said it added almost 40,000 broadband customers during the quarter, bringing its total to more than 911,000, up 22 percent year-on-year.

For more:
- See Windstream's quarterly report

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Plus: Windstream's focus on rural telephone service has paid the company dividends since it was spun off from Alltel in 2006 in a $4.9 billion deal that merged it with the Valor Communications Group, but its broadband and digital TV service is the engine that's driving the telco's growth now, CEO Jeff Gardner told shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Little Rock Thursday. Gardner says Windstream--the fifth-largest U.S. telco--will maintain its rural focus and continue to improve its broadband offerings.

"I think we're really differentiating ourselves with this approach," Gardner said. "We are right where we hoped to be. We're among the industry leaders in bundling, which is key." Though Windstream's most basic offering is traditional landline phone service, Gardner said the company is in good position to be profitable for many years. "We're wired, but we're changing rapidly."

Shareholders apparently agreed, defeating a proposal that would have given them a say in executive compensation.

For more:
- Read the CNNMoney article

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Windstream last month said it would partner with TiVo   
Gardner earned $4.2 million in 2007