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In order to boost its channel sales, Windstream Corporation (WIN - Analyst Report) - one of the largest U.S. rural local exchange carriers (RLEC) - recently authorized its channel managers to sell its few selected data center products to the customers.

Windstream generally sells its data center products through its direct sales channel. Thus, by certifying its channel managers, it will not only open up a new sales platform for the company but also offer more Windstream products to its customers.

At present, only four products namely, colocation, dedicated servers, Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), and unified email management will be offered certification by the company, Gradually, more products will be included under the certified channel manager.

Last month, nearly half of Windstream's channel managers went through data center certification training in Charlotte, N.C. After the training, these managers also trained their agents and started selling Windstream data center solutions from Feb. 25 onwards.

Last month, Windstream reported somber fourth quarter and full year 2012 results, mainly attributable to low contributions from voice and long distance units, reduced intrastate access rates along with loss of subscribers. It also missed both the top and bottom line of the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

During the fourth quarter, total access lines, which include voice lines, high-speed Internet and digital television customers, decreased 2.8% year over year to 3.48 million. Voice lines and digital television customers witnessed a year-over-year decline of 4.5% and 4.4%, respectively, while high-speed Internet improved a marginal 0.6%.

Hence, we believe that implementation of such selling strategy will not only drive subscriber growth for the company but at the same time will spread business to various new locations, hence giving a cutting edge to Windstream’s performance over other industry players such as Frontier Communications (FTR - Analyst Report), Cbeyond Inc. and Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc. (CNSL - Snapshot Report).

Windstream currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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