Windstream Execs Share Insight into Acquisitions and Transition to Fourth Largest Enterprise-Focused Technology and Communications Provider

In late 2011, Windstream acquired $2.3 billion telecommunications services provider PAETEC. This move made Windstream the fourth largest enterprise-focused technology and communications company in the United States. To better understand the changes that have taken place at Windstream, John Leach, Executive Vice President of Business Sales, and Mike Shippey, Senior Vice President of Carrier Services, answer some questions about the impact of the acquisition.

What was the strategy behind the acquisition? Why did Windstream choose PAETEC?

John Leach (JL): Throughout the last two years, Windstream has focused on building our network and portfolio of business services by acquiring companies in the B2B space. All of our acquisitions have been calculated and purposeful; it was just a matter of bringing together the pieces of the puzzle over time to make it happen. The transformation has been part of our strategic plan for quite some time, and was something we worked toward throughout the past few years. It started with the acquisitions of companies like NuVox and Q-Comm, and PAETEC is latest piece of the puzzle.

The PAETEC merger has strengthened Windstream in three important ways. First, PAETEC brought tremendous enterprise-level expertise and product offerings to enhance Windstream’s already robust business division. Second, PAETEC’s culture of first-rate customer care aligned nicely with our own commitment to exceptional service. Lastly, PAETEC’s service area perfectly complemented our own, allowing us to instantly transform into a multi-billion dollar nationwide communications and technology company.

The acquisition was completed about four months ago. Who is Windstream today?

JL: Today, Windstream is the fourth largest enterprise technology and communications company in the U.S. We are an S&P 500 company, serving more than 450,000 business customers with more than 100,000 miles of fiber across North America, in major cities and small towns. We provide service to four out of every five of the Fortune 500 companies. We have enterprise-class data centers located around the country. To meet the evolving needs of our customers, we have expanded our portfolio of customized products and services, including cloud computing, disaster recovery, managed services, networking, VoIP, and more.

While the acquisition has created some change, what hasn’t changed is our commitment to serve as a trusted advisor, providing smart solutions and personalized service to our customers.

What does the acquisition mean for Windstream’s carriers?

Mike Shippey (MS): For our carriers, the PAETEC acquisition has most notably benefited them in terms of our expanded fiber network. PAETEC had significant assets on the East Coast and in the Midwest, bringing an additional 36,700 route miles of fiber into our network. Windstream now has a much larger fiber-optic footprint, giving us the ability to provide access to fiber where we couldn’t previously.

For VoIP carriers specifically, Windstream now offers a stronger VoIP origination product, which allows carriers to cost-effectively establish a local presence in more than 5,700 rate centers across the U.S.

Many Telcos are offering fiber. Why should a carrier choose Windstream?

MS: Our unparalleled combination of metro, long-haul and diverse fiber routes delivers high-capacity capabilities—whether a customer is looking to build into a facility or expand its current network. Now, our expanded fiber network infrastructure—when overlaid with our business communication solutions—provides a higher quality, more efficient, and more reliable overall experience. We know that customers all have different needs, but everyone depends on the network’s availability on a daily basis.

By intelligently combining our vast fiber footprint with the latest electronics, we are able to create networks that are scalable to address any bandwidth or routing requirement. Our scalable network solutions include private networks, low latency routes, SONET services, wavelengths, Ethernet, and data options.

One of our biggest strengths related to fiber is our financial ability to light it, and to build fiber out to meet customer requirements. At Windstream, we have the capital we need to be able to work with clients who need fiber but are not located in the immediate vicinity of an existing fiber route.

What can we expect to see from Windstream in the coming weeks and months?

MS: Internally, we have made some adjustments through the realignment of our sales and back office teams. We have also conducted cross-training to familiarize the sales teams with all of the products and services we now offer as a result of the acquisition. And, a refreshed go-to-market IT strategy has been defined in order to continue to best support our customers.

JL: At Windstream, we continuously work to build our product and service offerings to meet customers’ evolving needs.

In 2012, we have plans to open three new data centers—including one that was recently opened in Little Rock just last week—and we’ll continue to expand our fiber network in line with customer demand. Our sophisticated fiber network delivery architecture supports rapid introduction of next generation services for evolving businesses, so Windstream is able to offer more opportunities for technology innovation, cost savings, and productivity improvements.

Obviously, there has been a lot of talk about the PAETEC acquisition and how it has impacted Windstream. Although this acquisition was executed fairly recently, it was part of a plan that we put into place a long time ago. Things are progressing as expected and it has been a smooth transition.

It is an exciting time at Windstream. We are proud of who we are and how we work with our customers, and we look forward to expanding on our success.