Windstream Works to Upgrade As FCC Finds Broadband Lacking

by Luke Jones  on Monday, May. 13, 2013 12:00 am  

For instance, Dampier pointed to executives’ statements to shareholders that the company would be reducing capital expenditures — what stock analysts call “capex” — in the next few years.

CFO Tony Thomas, for example, told analysts in November that the company was looking to pay down debt: “We still expect to see significant reductions in capex next year.”

Dampier said this doesn’t jibe well with Windstream’s intentions to improve broadband speeds. He also noted that much of the company’s capital expenditure was going toward running fiber lines to cellphone towers.

“That isn’t going to benefit a lot of customers with home broadband,” he said.

Problems Noted

Some examples of Windstream delivering poor service have cropped up in the news — in March, WGCL, Channel 46, in Atlanta reported that the Georgia Governor’s Office for Consumer Protection was investigating Windstream for possible consumer law violations.

In April, the chamber of commerce in Piedmont, Mo., met with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office regarding slow Internet speeds and Windstream’s allegedly lax response.

The Better Business Bureau’s website indicates that Windstream “has a pattern of consumer complaints alleging slow or inferior Internet speeds.”

“People are paying for elite speed tiers and barely getting 500k,” Dampier said. “That company makes a whole lot of excuses.”

‘A Demand Issue’

Indeed, the company is relying on reduced expenses to keep up its high-yield dividend. But Redmond, the senior VP, maintained that Windstream is working to upgrade 80 percent of its customers with fiber technology and that upgrade should be complete soon.

“Essentially, that gives customers at aggregation points well over a gig of backhaul,” he said. “In addition to that, we will overlay on top a tech we call VDSL, that essentially, in addition to the backhaul, gives customers improved speed availability as well. The speeds will be a minimum of 6 megs where it’s upgraded, with max speeds in excess of 24 megs.”



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