Windstream broadband saw an increase in subscribers for the twelfth consecutive month – an accomplishment that the company attributes to the investment it has made in upgrading the speeds that its broadband network can support.
The company noted in a press release that it added approximately 14,400 customers for its Kinetic Internet service in 2018, and although it did not release specific numbers, it noted that “that growth has continued through the first two months of 2019.”
Windstream was scheduled to release its fourth-quarter earnings results in February but that release was delayed after a federal court ruled that Windstream’s 2015 spinoff of fiber and copper network assets into real estate investment trust Uniti Group violated the terms of Windstream’s agreement with a key bondholder, Aurelius Capital Master. The court said Windstream owed Aurelius over $310 million and potentially owed money to other investors as well.
Although Windstream could have appealed the decision, the company decided instead to reorganize through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
Since then, Windstream has obtained $1 billion in debtor-in-possession financing, $400 million of which has already been released to the company. That funding is expected to enable the company to continue business as usual while it reorganizes.
The company is not expected to go out of business as a result of the bankruptcy, and the news today about broadband subscriber growth is an example of what “business as usual” entails for the company.
When Americans’ use of streaming services mushroomed over the past decade, it created challenges for companies like Windstream that started out as telecom service providers and subsequently updated their copper network infrastructure to support data service using digital subscriber line (DSL) technology. The speeds that DSL can support cannot not easily match the speeds that cable company competitors can deliver over their hybrid fiber coax infrastructure.
To address that, Windstream and other telecom providers have been extending fiber deeper into their networks to support higher-speed broadband. Last week, Windstream said it had completed a planned broadband network expansion ahead of time and that 34% of locations in its footprint can now receive broadband at speeds of up to 100 Mbps, half of customers can receive speeds up to 50 Mbps and 64% can get speeds of up to 25 Mbps.
According to today’s press release, Windstream is planning further expansion. The company said it expects to further increase the availability of 100 Mbps service, and that 100 Mbps speeds will be available to 40% of its serving area by mid-2019.