WindstreamWindstream Communications hopes to minimize its reliance on other carriers for access links to its network with its purchase of Business Only Broadband, said Windstream CEO Jeff Gardner in an interview. Business Only Broadband is a broadband wireless provider focused on the enterprise market with operations in Chicago, New York and Milwaukee. The acquisition was announced yesterday.

“We will get quicker access to customers and shorter intervals to sign up . . . and we don’t have to interface with any of the RBOCs,” said Gardner, who also noted that Windstream had already been “thinking about their business model.”

That model is based on wireless equipment that can be installed in a matter of days. Business Only Broadband’s pitch is that unlike many landline offerings, its service offers true diversity. The service is often sold for backup or for temporary connectivity to support outdoor festivals and other events.

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The Windstream Business Only Broadband Deal
After purchasing nine companies in five years, Windstream took a break for a year or two. But Gardner said he’s ready to get back into it and would look for more companies like Business Only Broadband — including fiber-based companies — that have access infrastructure.

“We often have to buy last mile [connectivity],” Gardner said. “If we can own the facility, it helps our margins and we can control the customer experience.”

Most of Windstream’s previous purchases were aimed at giving the company the ability to deliver business services across the country. The company’s Paetec purchase, for example, gave the company a strong presence in major markets such as Chicago, Gardner said.

Windstream’s decision to purchase Business Only Broadband was fueled in part by its plans to spin off some of its network assets into a separate real estate investment trust. That move will free up cash for investment, and investments will be targeted at accelerating Windstream’s transition into a “national world-class enterprise player,” Gardner said.

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