Windstream, EarthLink to Merge

    There has been a run of acquisitions in the telecommunications sector, headlined by AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner and CenturyLink’s deal to acquire Level 3. Here is another to add to the list: Windstream and EarthLink are merging in a $673 million deal.

    EarthLink shareholders will receive 0.818 shares of Windstream common stock. Within three years of the deal, the companies claim that they will save $125 million annually via operating and capital synergies.

    The two wired ISPs, if the deal closes, will have 145,000 route miles of fiber in the United States.

    BT Commercializes Gigabit Service

    BT is pushing 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) service beyond the trial phase.

    The English carrier is offering service at that speed on its Openreach fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network. So far, the service is available to only 327,000 homes and businesses in the United Kingdom. It is set to double in size during the next year and reach 2 million premises by the end of 2020, according to CED.

    Overall, BT is planning to use a variety of approaches to offer 12 million premises accelerated speeds by that date. Two new products are expected next month, including a service that offers 500 Megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 220 Mbps upstream speeds.

    Schools Making Online Progress

    The number of public school districts with speedy broadband connections has risen from 19 percent to 68 percent since 2013, according to a report from the Consortium for School Networking.

    The report also says that only 6 percent of high schools nationwide lack Wi-Fi. The next step, however, may be tough: The schools report that they need more modern connections, though 60 percent say that cost is a problem.

    AT&T/Time Warner Deal No Sure Thing

    Since AT&T announced that it will acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion, a few things have happened. One thing is that the U.S. Department of Justice is suing DirecTV, which is owned by AT&T, for collusion in how it handles carriage negotiations for Dodgers games in Los Angeles. The other is that the next president has been elected.

    Analysts MoffettNathanson LLC interviewed 20 regulatory experts and found that the consensus of the experts, most of which were interviewed before the lawsuit involving DirecTV was filed, is that the closing of the deal is anything but certain. Among the uncertainties, according to the report at Light Reading, is whether the Federal Communications Commission would review the deal. The story says that technical changes can be made to avoid FCC review, but that this could be a strategic mistake.

    More Colorado Communities Open to Local Telecom Platforms

    Voters in Colorado are opting to enable their communities to create their own telecommunications services platform. Community Broadband News reports that 26 communities – seven counties and 19 municipalities – voted to do so in referendums.

    The referendums are necessary due to SB 152, a 2005 state law that requires that the step be taken before local governments can work with the private sector on telecommunications. The 26 communities that did so in the recent vote bring the total to 29 out of Colorado’s 64 counties and 66 of the state’s municipalities.

    Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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