Windstream extends broadband wireless reach into 40 markets, enhances on-net Ethernet scale

Windstream is extending the reach of its fixed wireless network service to 40 new markets, enabling it to further reduce its dependence on third-party access services from ILECs to fulfill multi-site business customer requests that can't immediately be reached with fiber.

This latest network build will leverage Cambridge Broadband Networks’ (CBNL) millimeter wave wireless equipment and Straight Path Communications’ spectrum.

Specifically, Windstream will deploy CBNL’s VectaStar 39 GHz licensed PMP radios and utilize Straight Path’s 39 GHz spectrum to rapidly expand its last-mile customer connectivity options in major metro markets.

This new technology will allow Windstream customers to access the company’s advanced data, voice, network and cloud services at speeds of up to 275 Mbps full duplex, and it also supplements Windstream’s other fixed wireless access technologies that range in speed from 1 Mbps to 1 Gbps.

Windstream said that this network build, which is part of its previously disclosed capital investment plan, and the partnership with CBNL and Straight Path, will significantly scale coverage of the service provider’s fixed wireless technology. Business customers will be able to enhance network diversity by integrating fiber, copper and fixed wireless access technologies.

By using the CNBL equipment and Straight Path’s technology, Windstream will enhance seven markets where it currently delivers fixed wireless service: Chicago, New York City, Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Little Rock, Arkansas.

Additionally, Windstream will deploy CBNL equipment in 33 new markets where it will begin offering its fixed wireless technology. Those markets include Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, North Carolina, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Kansas City, Missouri, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Richmond, Virginia, San Antonio, Seattle and St. Louis.

Under the terms of the agreement, Windstream has the option to expand its fixed wireless footprint to an additional 32 markets where Straight Path owns 39 GHz spectrum.

While this is the latest deployment with CNBL and Sraight Path, the trio is not strangers. Previously, Windstream deployed CNBL’s VectaStar network in New York City, which used Straight Path’s 28 GHz spectrum.

The service provider has been aggressively expanding its fixed wireless footprint. In September, Windstream started offering its fixed wireless access service to business customers in Salt Lake City as part of multi-city buildout to complement its copper- and fiber-based network offerings

Being able to offer fixed wireless services in more markets will allow Windstream to achieve two goals: further its IP Ethernet reach and further reduce network access costs.

To achieve its on-net service goals, it makes sense for Windstream to leverage a mix of broadband wireless and fiber-based facilities as it gives the service provider more control over the customer experience.  

Broadband wireless can help Windstream fill in the gaps where it can’t currently make a business case to extend facilities into a particular building.

On the fiber front, the service provider has expanded its metro fiber network into several markets, including into areas in Virginia, North Carolina and elsewhere. The company is also planning additional fiber network expansions in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia this year.

Separately, Windstream also announced it is using Ciena’s Blue Planet orchestration software to automate the delivery of managed wavelength services across the company’s multi-vendor optical network.

For more:
- see the release

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