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Leading exchange carrier in the U.S., Windstream Holdings Inc. (WIN - Analyst Report) is forging ahead with plans to strengthen its fixed wireless networks services by upgrading it with millimeter wave radio technology to reach out to almost 72 U.S. markets. Toward this end, Windstream announced that it will be using VectaStar 39 GHz licensed point-to-multipoint (PMP) radios from Cambridge Broadband Networks Limited (CBNL)  and 39 GHz spectrum from Straight Path Communications Inc.  to build the network. Windstream aims to use the PMP radios to extend its last-mile customer connections in the initial 40 cities of major metro markets to begin with.

This new technology will allow Windstream customers access the company’s advanced data, voice, network and cloud services at a speed of up to 275 Mbps full duplex. It also acts as an add-on for Windstream’s other fixed wireless access technologies which have a speed range from 1 Mbps to 1 Gbps. Business customers can enjoy the network diversities through the integration of fiber, copper and fixed wireless access technologies.

With the CNBL equipment and Straight Path’s technology, Windstream will strengthen its hold in seven markets where it already provides fixed wireless services. These markets include Chicago, New York City, Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Little Rock, AR.

Moreover, Windstream will be using the CBNL equipment in 33 new markets where it will start offering its fixed wireless technology. The 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.

As per the deal, Windstream also has the option to expand its fixed wireless footprint to another 32 markets where Straight Path owns 39 GHz spectrum.

Competition Rife

The dynamics of the communication industry is significantly governed by technology innovation. Hence, leading national carriers aggressively introduce networking technologies and next-generation product and service offerings. Top-tier carriers such as AT&T Inc. (T - Analyst Report) , Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ - Analyst Report) and Sprint Corp. (S - Analyst Report) have deployed 4G LTE networks across most of their coverage markets. Availability of these new technologies may result in intensified competition for Windstream’s broadband Internet business. To remain competitive, the company needs to invest significantly in technology and network upgrades, or experience greater subscriber churn to larger competitors.

Windstream can also utilize the higher speed copper-based VDSL2 service to overcome tough competition from cable multi-service operators (MSOs) like Comcast Corp. (CMCSA - Analyst Report) and Charter Communications (CHTR - Analyst Report) which continue to expand their small, medium and large businesses.

Windstream currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can seethe complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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