Newly Listed Company Vows to Bring Broadband to Rural America

Alltel announced on Tuesday that it had completed the spin-off of its wireline business and subsequent merger of that business with Valor Communications Group, Inc.

Valor, which has changed its name to Windstream Corporation, is now a public telecommunications and entertainment service provider that will cater to customers in rural America.

Windstream Corp. common stock began trading publicly Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WIN.

"Windstream is a totally separate business from Alltel, [but] Alltel shareholders will continue to own a portion of the business through the spin off," said Andrew Moreau, vice president of corporate communications for Alltel (AT). "Alltel will now be a wireless-only carrier."

As part of the "spin-merge transaction," which was initially introduced in December 2005, Alltel says its shareholders are entitled to receive approximately one share of Valor stock for each share of Alltel stock that they own.

Alltel expects to continue providing wireless broadband, voice, and data services in 35 states including both rural and major metro areas.

Windstream says it will offer voice, digital television, and broadband services via 3.4 million access lines in 16 states.

It will serve customers in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.

The company, which operates a directory publishing and communications product supply business as well, is also involved in various ventures in the retail arena with 55 stores nationwide.

Windstream expects to offer broadband services to the majority of its customer base by Q4 2006 with speeds ranging from 256 Kbps for $19.95 to 6.0 Mbps for $39.95. It will offer digital TV programming via DISH Network (DISH) with optional upgrades to high-definition.

TV packages range from $24.99 for basic "family-friendly" programming to $89.99 for America's "Everything Pak," which includes 31 movie channels and 180 TV channels.

Customers can opt to add digital video recorder (DVR) service for $5.95 per month.

Lastly, the company will offer a range of local and long distance phone services.

Windstream has taken creative liberties with a multi-state mobile truck marketing tour slated to begin in August.

The Concept Farm of New York advertising agency developed the brand campaign around a green vintage pickup truck, which Windstream describes on its Web site as a "recognizable classic that has been fully restore and features the latest technology."

"The Windstream green truck will serve as a memorable brand icon that evokes the spirit of our new company," said Jeff Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Windstream, in a statement.

Gardner was expected to lead a group of Windstream executives and employees to ring the opening bell at the NYSE on Wednesday, July 19.

"Windstream is proud to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange along with the nation's top publicly traded companies," Gardner said in a statement. "It is a privilege for our team to ring the bell as we celebrate the start of our new company."