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Windstream Unit to Augment Long-Haul Core Network in Canada

Zacks Equity Research

Windstream Holdings, Inc.’s WIN business segment — Windstream Enterprise & Wholesale — recently announced that it will utilize the existing long-haul fiber assets to augment its core network by more than 200 miles in Montreal, Quebec.

The strategic move will connect Windstream’s network within Cologix’s Montreal system, allowing the latter’s customers to experience the coveted services of the former. Cologix is a leading data center operator in the Montreal market. The services are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2019.

Notably, this network expansion reinforces Windstream’s goal to connect people and empower enterprises with a world of infinite possibilities. The network communications and technology solutions provider will offer customers up to 100 Gbps Wavelength Services and 10 Gbps Internet and Ethernet services in Montreal. This would enable access to core U.S. routes interconnecting within the major New York City locations, data centers and cable landing stations in Wall Township, NJ and Ashburn, VA.

Furthermore, Windstream is seeking diversification from legacy telecom services to more enterprise and wholesale opportunities. It has made substantial investment to upgrade its network and product portfolio, including advances in SD-WAN capabilities and Cloud Core architecture, in a bid to optimize customer experience. The company is realigning its wireless network toward a software-centric model to meet growing business demands and customer requirements. Its comprehensive portfolio of services and solutions is aimed at helping enterprises to enhance productivity.

Windstream’s initiatives for sales improvement, cost-cutting and pricing are laudable. Investments made in data center and fiber expansion should provide impetus for revenue growth in the upcoming quarters. Expansion of metro fiber network business in new areas and its intent to extend the deployment of G.fast technologies over traditional copper telephone wires augur well. In order to better focus on core business operations, Windstream announced that it has monetized the legacy EarthLink consumer Internet business to reduce capital expenditure. The business was sold for $330 million in cash to Trive Capital.

However, Windstream’s shares have recorded an average loss of 2.4% against growth of 6.5% for the industry over the past six months. It is to be seen whether such expanded commercial collaborations and services deployment can help the company script a turnaround in 2019 by supporting its bottom line.

Windstream currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the industry include Cogent Communications Holdings, Inc. CCOI, United States Cellular Corporation USM and Sprint Corporation S. While Cogent Communications sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), U.S. Cellular and Sprint carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.          

Cogent Communications has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 8%.

U.S. Cellular has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 1%.

Sprint has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 19.6%.

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