Windstream is complaining to the FCC that incumbent carriers’ obligations to provide access to unbundled high-capacity loops should be regulated so that price gouging doesn’t occur. Windstream provides fiber to several very small parts of the country but also pays to obtain access to local copper or fiber loops to deliver service.
“While competitive carriers like Windstream are investing heavily in fiber networks, competitors still require access to incumbent facilities in the last mile, where overbuilding usually is uneconomic,” Windstream wrote in an FCC filing. “This is because — as the FCC has repeatedly reaffirmed — the fundamental economics of network construction have not changed. If permitted to evade existing access requirements via a technology transition, incumbent carriers would obtain unfettered power to force through significant price increases for both wholesale and retail last-mile connections.” – FierceTelecom
I agree with Windstream. But, I also take issue with Windstream acting as if they themselves don’t indulge themselves with anti-competitive actions themselves. Windstream continues to rank as one of the worst, if not the worst, ISP in the country.
Windstream is the same ISP that spun off a significant portion of the company’s fixed-line network assets into into an independent, publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT), allowing it to reduce its tax bill by millions of dollars annually.
Windstream was also recently embarrassed by FCC data suggesting the ISP is among the worst when it comes to failing to deliver advertised speeds at peak hours. As DSLReports notes, many Windstream customers struggle to get 1 Mbps service and we are in the year 2015. This after Windstream slashed their job force to save money several months ago.
Last year, Windstream was forced to settle with the Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection over accusations that the telco was failing to deliver advertised speeds to the company’s DSL users. According to CBS 46 in Atlanta, Windstream paid $600,000 ($350,000 in civil penalties, administrative fees and expenses and $250,000 in restitution) for selling over-saturated DSL services incapable of providing promised speeds.
That came after the FCC fined Windstream $2.5 million for failing to make sure that long-distance calls in rural areas go through on a regular basis.
Of course, all of this bad press has caused Windstream to announce that they would be offering 1 Gbps service to some areas at some time in the future. Right. Note that the details of this offering weren’t announced nor do I expect it to ever be released.