Windstream Corp. defines itself as “a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide.

Frontier Communications says it is “a provider of voice, broadband, satellite video, wireless Internet data access, data security solutions, bundled offerings, specialized bundles for small businesses and home offices, and advanced business communications for medium and large businesses in 27 states.”

What you might say about those statements is that they are a bit more “aspirational” as a description of where Frontier gets its revenue, but an accurae description of where Windstream gets most of its revenue right now.

At December 31, 2011, Frontier had 3,103,800 residential customers and 309,900 business customers.

Business revenue tells the story, though. For the six-month period ending Dec. 31, 2011, Frontier earned $692 million in business customer revenue, and $544 million in consumer revenue.

For Windstream, results were even more pronounced. Business revenue in the fourth quarter of 2011 were $888 million, while consumer revenues were $118 million.

That is not to say a “typical” independent or rural telco will have an opportunity to create that sort of revenue distribution. Both Frontier and Windstream benefit from a presence in some mid-sized markets as well as rural areas, so the opportunity to sell services to businesses is greater.

But results at both firms show a strategy that will work for the larger independents, namely an out-of-region emphasis on business customers and revenue, compared to in-region customers. The issue is how far such an emphasis can be created for the hundreds of smaller independents.

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