Overall, Windstream is a solid option for rural customers looking for an affordable and reliable alternative to satellite service.
Windstream also offers TV service through a partnership with DISH, as well as home phone service.
Windstream Plans Overview
|Deals||Price Monthly||Internet Speed||Phone|
|High Speed Internet 25||$5000||25 Mbps DSL||(888) 604-4799|
|Enhanced Kinetic Internet + Basic Cable||$6275||25 Mbps DSL||(888) 604-4799|
|25 Mbps + Basic Cable + Unlimited nationwide calling||$8275||25 Mbps DSL||(888) 604-4799|
|Premium Kinetic Internet + Basic Cable||$7275||50 Mbps DSL||(888) 604-4799|
|Premium Plus Kinetic Internet + Basic Cable||$8275||100 Mbps DSL||(888) 604-4799|
|Enhanced Kinetic Internet + Select Cable||$9975||25 Mbps DSL||(888) 604-4799|
|Premium Plus Kinetic Internet + Preferred Cable||$12875||100 Mbps DSL||(888) 604-4799|
|50 Mbps + Basic Cable + Unlimited nationwide calling||$9275||50 Mbps DSL||(888) 604-4799|
|100 Mbps + Basic Cable + Unlimited nationwide calling||$10275||100 Mbps DSL||(888) 604-4799|
|25 Mbps + Preferred Cable + Unlimited nationwide calling||$12875||25 Mbps DSL||(888) 604-4799|
|100 Mbps + Preferred Cable + Unlimited nationwide calling||$14875||100 Mbps DSL||(888) 604-4799|
|25 Mbps||$5000||25 Mbps Fiber||(888) 604-4799|
If you're looking to compare plans, make sure to check out our detailed guide on the latest Windstream deals and promotions.
Like most internet plans, Windstream options are offered in tiers based on download speeds. In areas where only their DSL service is offered, speeds will generally be much lower than areas with fiber. Fiber service with their One Gig internet offers download speeds of up to 1000 Mbps, but the majority of service areas will only have access to plans that max out around 12–50 Mbps. This is still a respectable speed for general uses like streaming Netflix and surfing the web.
When it comes to TV, Windstream offers bundled deals with satellite TV provider DISH rather than their own TV plan. There are a variety of plans ranging from basic to premium, with sports addons for an additional price, and you’ll save around $10/month depending on local promos as a thank-you for buying both services together.
In general, Windstream’s plans are expensive compared to suburban and urban areas, but a good alternative to satellite, which comes with higher data costs and longer minimum contacts.
Windstream Speeds and Network Performance
Windstream is largely a DSL provider, but has expanded into Fiber technology in certain areas. In areas with DSL service, speeds are slower (and usually somewhat more expensive) than cable.
This graph shows average speeds across Windstream’s entire network, including all plan types. This is based on customer speed test aggregates, so it reflects real-world performance and does not weigh “advertised prices” as a factor.
Windstream Download Speeds Over Time
This table shows average speeds in popular Windstream service areas. The “90th percentile” speeds in the right column are often more accurate, since speed tests run due to technical issues tend to weigh our results on the slow side:
|City||Windstream Average Speed||Windstream Top 10% Speeds|
|Atlanta, Georgia||15 Mbps||43 Mbps|
|Austin, Texas||22 Mbps||62 Mbps|
|Broken Arrow, Oklahoma||9.2 Mbps||25 Mbps|
|Brooklyn, New York||24 Mbps||65 Mbps|
|Canton, Georgia||9.5 Mbps||21 Mbps|
|Charlotte, North Carolina||29 Mbps||59 Mbps|
|Chicago, Illinois||22 Mbps||53 Mbps|
|Concord, North Carolina||32 Mbps||102 Mbps|
|Dalton, Georgia||7.6 Mbps||15 Mbps|
|Elyria, Ohio||6.4 Mbps||13 Mbps|
|Houston, Texas||13 Mbps||34 Mbps|
|Lexington, Kentucky||9.6 Mbps||24 Mbps|
|Lexington, South Carolina||9.6 Mbps||22 Mbps|
|Lincoln, Nebraska||12 Mbps||23 Mbps|
|Matthews, North Carolina||14 Mbps||31 Mbps|
|Mooresville, North Carolina||16 Mbps||33 Mbps|
|New York, New York||35 Mbps||67 Mbps|
|San Antonio, Texas||30 Mbps||66 Mbps|
|Sanford, North Carolina||11 Mbps||17 Mbps|
|Sugar Land, Texas||23 Mbps||43 Mbps|
Windstream DSL vs Cable and Fiber Alternatives
The majority of Windstream’s network uses Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology. This tech uses your phone lines to transmit data, and is generally slightly slower than Cable or Fiber. It has an advantage, however, in terms of reliability. With Cable connections, you’ll often find your network slowing down when everyone gets home and turns on netflix. DSL, on the other hand, is very consistent.
In areas with Fiber service — the current gold standard of internet connections — speeds can reach 1,000 Mbps, but Windstream’s Fiber coverage is limited due to the massive expense of building a new network.
Windstream Coverage & Availability Map
Windstream offers service in 18 states including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas. Most of the company’s attention is on providing service to over 3.3 million customers in rural areas that are much more likely to have access to DSL than Cable or Fiber. 
Windstream’s fiber coverage is available mostly in Lincoln, Nebraska, Lexington, Kentucky, Sugarland, Texas, and multiple North Carolina communities. Less than 50,000 of the company’s customers had access to Fiber as of April, 2016. 
Windstream Installation Options and Installation Fees
Windstream offers customers the option to either have a professional install their service or to install it themselves. The installation fee for a Windstream technician to set up your service is reasonable when compared to a typical Cable company, but it’s more than possible to install DSL equipment on your own. Fiber installation is a little more involved, so we recommend going with professional installation if you’re one of the few Fiber customers.
A big benefit to Windstream is that they don’t charge an Early Termination Fee (ETF) if you decide to cancel your subscription, so there’s very little risk in giving their service a try.  Be sure to return the modem if you do cancel, however, as they charge a $100 fee for customers who fail to return equipment.
|Windstream Misc Fees|
|Gateway rental fee||$9.99/month|
|DISH Hopper DVR rental fee||$15/month|
|Early Termination Fee (ETF)||$0|
Windstream Equipment Options
Windstream offers two different gateways for DSL service: 
Sagemcom 2705This is Windstream’s basic option, with a single 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network, ADSL2 support, and two 802.11n antennas.
Actiontec T3200The Actiontec is a step up, supporting VDSL2, GBOND, FTTP, and VBOND, as well as two seperate networks (2.4 GHZ and 5 GHz). This is convenient for busy homes where you can boost speeds by putting newer devices on the 5 GHz band.
It’s also possible to use your own modem, but Windstream recommends against it because customer support will be unable to assist you if anything were to go wrong.
Both gateways act as both a modem and router, and are capable enough to handle basic DSL speeds.
Is Windstream Enough for Streaming and Gaming?
Rural Speed VarianceWhile Windstream is available in many rural areas, it’s important to recognize that DSL speeds can vary based on your distance from the nearest fiber line.
While the speed you get will generally be consistent, it may be lower than what you were expecting due to your physical distance from the Windstream DSLAM or local office (where fiber lines switch over to DSL).
Streaming and GamingMore and more people are cutting the cord and swapping to online services like Netflix and Hulu, and the population of online gamers continues to grow. DSL speeds that are fast enough will generally be tolerable for online gaming, and will often also be okay for streaming video.
In any sort of data transfer situation, however, faster is going to be better. Cable connections, provided they’re not extremely congested, will generally provide a better experience. If you have the choice between the two, we recommend Cable. But DSL will do in a pinch.
As mentioned above, internet with Windstream is offered through DISH Network. DISH is a satellite TV provider that covers most of the U.S., and has a variety of plans at varying service levels and price points.
Channel offerings vary from 190+ to 290+, and there are often discounts for bundling service together with Windstream’s internet. There are also a large amount of sports options available, so you’ll be able to keep up with your favorite teams, too.
|DISH Windstream Equipment Options|
|DISH Hopper||$15/month||2 TB|
|ViP 722K HD DVR||$15/month||500 GB|
Conclusion: Windstream Is a High-Speed Alternative to Satellite
While Windstream’s DSL generally can’t compete with Cable or Fiber providers in terms of speed or pricing, they cover a large geographic area and provide service to customers who don’t have access to these newer technologies. Additionally, their partnership with DISH gives customers access to a high-quality TV provider regardless of their location.
Overall, Windstream’s service is less impressive than an average Cable company, but it provides a valuable service to customers who lack access to these more advanced networks.
Windstream at a Glance
|Price Range||$50.00 - $148.75/mo+|
|Connection Type(s)||DSL, Copper, Fixed Wireless, Cable & Fiber|
|Customer Recommendation Rating on BroadbandNow.com||33.6%|
|ACSI Customer Service Rating|
|Phone Number||(888) 604-4799|
References and Footnotes
- https://www.windstream.com/Support/Where-are-Windstream-s-services-available-/ ↩
- http://blog.windstream.com/windstream-launches-one-gigabit-internet-service/ ↩
- https://www.windstream.com/Support/Is-there-an-early-cancellation-fee-/ ↩
- https://www.windstream.com/Modal/Windstream-Premium-Wireless-Modem/ ↩
James Webb is a tech and gadgets expert with a focus on educational content development. He draws on his background in the startup world to make complicated technologies and topics easy to understand for normal folks.