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Windstream to upgrade service in area
[January 23, 2013]

Windstream to upgrade service in area

Jan 22, 2013 (Ruidoso News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- What a number of customers have said is slow Internet service on Windstream Communications lines in the Ruidoso area may see the pace pick up in a few weeks.

Windstream spokesperson Scott Morris said the telephone company has heard from some of its Internet subscribers in the area.

"The work is underway. We installed a bigger pipe to the Internet back in the fall. We are installing a new ethernet switch that will address a bottleneck further into the network. And that work is on schedule. And we're also upgrading some of the DSLAMs (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer, which rec_eived signals from multiple subscriber line customers and feeds the digital signals onto a backbone line)." But Windstream customer John Hodge, who admitted being a thorn in the side of the telecommunications company over Internet service, said he has seen improvement deadlines come and go for the past year.

"They know that they've been selling services that they cannot provide," Hodge said of his 6 MG Internet subscription. "How is that a good business model I think that they've knowingly oversold and have no concern for the customers because they have continually given deadlines." Morris admitted the demand for Internet service exploded. He said multi-state Windstream has seen Internet growth of 200 percent over the past two years.

"Let's say everybody in a neighborhood feeds into a DSLAM. That's typically copper (telephone line from a home). The DSLAM back to our switch, that's typically fiber-optic (though copper wire, which handles data less efficiently that fiber-optic cable, is also in use). And then from that point there is something called a transport pipe, which is essentially a big, fat pipe that transmits data from your local community, whether that's Ruidoso or Little Rock, Ark., or whatever, out to the bigger Internet. So I guess theoretically a bottleneck could occur at any point." Bottlenecks are occurring not only because of increased demand. Additionally, the type of data being delivered over the Internet is larger.

"People are downloading more video, they're looking at more sophisticated websites that have HTML (language for displaying web pages) on them, all sorts of things," Morris said.

The more voluminous data from products like video requires more bandwidth capacity.

"The problem was that Windstream had oversold its bandwidth capabilities back in December 2011," Hodge argued. "They have continued to oversell to new customers with the full knowledge that they were not able to provide the service for which they were charging their customers. This practice seems unethical." Hodge said he has complained so much that he receives a discount for Internet service because Windstream realized they could not maintain the 6 MG speed.

Hodge said Windstream's top management needs to look longer term, rather than a reaction to a current problem that will return in three years because of more growth.

"It's a false attempt to fix the problem over inadequate infrastructure," Hodge said of the promised upgrades.

Morris said many should see significant improvement once the work is done around mid-February.

"We are on schedule," Morris said. "We don't anticipate any major issues at this point." While upgrading capacity in all three areas (DSLAM, Ethernet switch, and Internet connecting pipe) holds a promise of faster service, Morris cautioned not everyone will realize improvements from the upgrades.

"And typically what happens is those folks who mostly live the greatest distance from the central office are the ones who are least likely to see improvement," Morris said.

While the upgrades are expensive, Morris said the improvements will not bring Internet rate increase for subscribers.

___ (c)2013 the Ruidoso News (Ruidoso, N.M.) Visit the Ruidoso News (Ruidoso, N.M.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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