announced the launch of . Windstream made no bones about their competitive positioning. “Unlike cable modems, Ethernet Internet Access delivers equal downstream and upstream speeds to make transferring large data files and e-mail attachments quick and efficient,” says Windstream in a company statement. Windstream will offer Ethernet packages ranging from 3 to 10 Mbps and hopes to bundle other business services including Web hosting, online data storage, managed security and virtual private networking.

Once the sole domain of incumbent telcos (and more recently, CLECs), the attractive SMB market has been under significant attack from cable operators, who see it as an engine for growth. Telecom carriers have been somewhat slow to respond, partly in fear of cannibalizing lucrative T1 services for less expensive Ethernet products. Cable companies like Cox have seized on the opportunity with aggressively priced data and phone packages with much success. These competitive battles have been raging for some time in urban areas, but are now reaching smaller markets, like the ones served by Windstream and other independent telcos. For the tier 2/3 telco market, Ethernet is still a relatively young and growing business opportunity.

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