The Windstream network didn’t evolve organically. It was not developed by the company, rather it was acquired bit by bit as Windstream bought up other, smaller telephone companies and cable providers.
As a result, the company has a presence in every state, but in some, it has only a small block of territory, in others a series of disjointed patches, and solid blocks of service areas in a few states. The company has a wide presence in Southern California and also in Illinois/Wisconsin border areas and the North East.
Another consequence of the piecemeal accumulation of infrastructure is its inconsistency. Windstream offers Gigabit internet speeds in many states, such as Virginia, Wisconsin, and New Jersey, but a maximum speed of 100 Mbps in West Virginia, Minnesota, and New York. Customers in Hawaii can only have a maximum speed of 7 Mbps, North Dakota users get just 6 Mbps, Montana gets 3 Mbps, Wyoming only 1.5 Mbps and the best speed that Windstream can offer in Alaska is 0.786 Mbps.
Windstream also doesn’t impose a national price tariff either. Prices vary across the nation with customers in some states paying more for slower connections than users with faster speeds pay in other parts of the country.
These variations are due to local state divisions setting their prices according to the costs they experience in running the infrastructure they inherited from amalgamated companies.
The Federal Communications Commission publishes the Report on Consumer Fixed Broadband Performance in the United States every year. The latest edition was released in December 2018. One of the indicators studied in the report is the actual speed performance of major ISPs in the USA compared to the claims that they make in their advertising.
Of the 17 ISPs under consideration, 12 actually exceeded their claims, but five underperformed. Windstream was one of the ISPs that didn’t match their promises with real-world performance. In order to gather their statistics, the FCC measured the upload and download speeds experienced by a panel of customers, dotted around the country and accessing the internet at peak usage times. The performance of the Windstream internet service is so inconsistent that the results of the sampling could have been either much better or much worse, depending on which states the FCC performed its tests in. Essentially, Windstream is a collection of seemingly unrelated internet businesses that share a logo.
The variability in price and service quality makes it very difficult to advise a national audience on whether or not Windstream offers a good deal. It also makes factors such as average customer satisfaction ratings meaningless. Customers with good quality reliable service, high speeds, and low prices are naturally going to be a lot more satisfied than customers of the same internet provider in another state where the service is poor, slow, and overpriced. So, averaging the opinions of those two types of customers would produce a score than neither happy nor angry customers would have given.
Each year, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) produces a survey on customer approval ratings for a range of telecommunications service providers. This is called the ACSI Telecommunications Report. Its 2019 release rates the USA’s major ISP according to customer satisfaction ratings. The report showed results for both 2018 and 2019. In both years, the average score for all ISPs stood at 62%. Windstream scored below that bar in both years – 56% in 2018 and 57% in 2019. The service appeared in ninth place in both years.