Windstream takes shot at TV game with its Kinetic service

Windstream may be one of the lone holdouts in the telco TV race, choosing to resell Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) satellite TV services, but the advent of its Kinetic video service shows that it wants a piece of this growing segment.

Initially, the service provider will roll out Kinetic to over 50,000 homes beginning in the first half of next year followed by select additional communities later in the year and into 2016.

Taking a page out of AT&T (NYSE: T) and CenturyLink's (NYSE: CTL) service playbook, Windstream said it will offer customers the option to bundle Kinetic with its broadband and phone service. While it did not provide details about pricing, the telco said the TV bundles will be "offered through highly competitive rates and bundled packages."

Leveraging Ericsson's (NASDAQ: ERIC) Mediaroom platform, Kinetic will offer a number of features including: wireless set-top boxes, whole home DVR, multi-screen viewing and video-on-demand. It will also offer multi view capabilities that would allow a consumer to watch six channels at once.

"One of the drivers for us is that as communications continues to evolve, we obviously recognize that video one of the key decisions in the home in terms of total communications," said David Redmond, president of consumer services at Windstream, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We had an eight year-plus standing relationship with DISH, but as time as gone on it made sense to fully get into the game and take advantage of advancements in broadband technology and further monetize the pipe as well as provide with not just a video product, but a next-generation video product that does not seem to exist out there today."

Taking a cue from AT&T's (NYSE: T) U-verse service, Windstream is also using a similar fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) architecture that extends fiber to a remote terminal (RT)-based DSLAM and uses VDSL2 to extend service over the last mile copper connection to each user's home.

The FTTN-based last mile facilities are supported by Windstream's broader fiber-based regional metro and long-haul networks.

"It's the same delivery mechanism as AT&T's U-verse as well as the same platform that we're using, which is Ericsson's Mediaroom," Redmond said.

According to a JournalStar.com article, the service provider has installed fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) in select areas, including 500 Lincoln homes and expects to do more as housing developments arise. 

Redmond did confirm that they have already built out FTTP in some of its markets.

"We have a couple of properties where we are doing fiber-to-the-premises and we're starting to explore and where and how it makes sense to provide customers the speed they demand not just for video, but frankly the bigger driver is the number of devices in the household," he said.

While he could not say what other areas where they will bring the service, Redmond did confirm they are bringing the Kinetic service to other markets.

"We're already looking at other markets and we're in negotiations with other markets," Redmond said. "We made the announcement about Lincoln, Nebraska and have filed an application for a franchise in Lincoln, but we do have plans for multiple cities and those are in the works in parallel."

Adding a TV service could potentially boost Windstream's residential revenues.

During the second quarter, consumer broadband service revenues rose 0.4 percent to $121 million. Overall consumer service revenues in the second quarter were $317 million, an increase of 1.2 percent sequentially and a decrease of 2.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Windstream names Bob Gunderman as interim CFO
Windstream begins the second phase of its 100G network build
Windstream's Gardner: Cable could become a threat in larger businesses

This article was updated on Oct. 3 with quotes from David Redmond, president of consumer services at Windstream. 

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