Windstream Internet Review 2020

Windstream offers unlimited data and fast speeds in rural areas, but its customer service and location-based prices might give you a headache.
Recommended Plans
Our Rating
Our Rating
PlanPriceDownload speedDetails
High Speed Internet 50-100 Mbps$55100 MbpsView Plan
High Speed Internet 500 Mbps$65500 MbpsView Plan
Kinetic Gig$751000 MbpsView Plan
PriceDownload speedDetails
$55100 MbpsView Plan
$65500 MbpsView Plan
$751000 MbpsView Plan
Recent Updates: 5 days ago
Windstream continues to support residential and small business customers who are experiencing financial hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is even after the expiration of the FCC's Keep Americans Connected pledge.

Windstream promises to work with customers on a case-by-case basis to find the best solution, including deferred payments and settlement plans. If you're unable to pay your Windstream internet or TV bill, please contact Windstream to work out a payment plan.
Less than 6 months
Windstream has signed the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) Keeping Americans Connected Pledge in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This means that, through May 12, 2020, Windstream customers can expect the following:

  • No service disconnects for residential or small business customers
  • Waived late fees
  • Public Wi-Fi hotspots for anyone in the US
You'll need to call Windstream if you have trouble paying your bill, and you can read more about Windstream's response to COVID-19, and we hope you and your family are staying safe.

Windstream is trying to bring reliable high-speed internet to folks out in the country. Though the company has had a rocky history, including filing for bankruptcy in 2019, it’s managed to build its network in rural areas from southern Texas to the Canadian border.

But if you have other rural internet options, how does Windstream compare? Let’s take a look at its prices, download speeds, contracts, and more to find out.

Pros

  • No contracts
  • No data caps
  • Rural availability

Cons

  • Price hikes after a year
  • Poor customer service

Compare Windstream internet deals in your area.

Windstream prices and plans

It’s hard to put a peg on Windstream’s prices since they vary drastically based on location.

Just like some other internet service providers (ISPs), Windstream’s prices depend on where you live.

Even some cities in the same state may see different prices for Windstream plans, so it’s best to check the Windstream deals in your specific area.

But to give you an idea of how Windstream’s prices pan out, here’s a look at what we found in Ball Ground, Georgia.

Windstream internet overview for Ball Ground, GA
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
High Speed Internet 25 Mbps$45*25 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
High Speed Internet 50-100 Mbps$55*100 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
High Speed Internet 200 Mbps$60*200 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
High Speed Internet 300-400 Mbps$65*400 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
High Speed Internet 500 Mbps$65*500 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
Kinetic Gig$75*1000 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months. Price includes $19.00 promotional credit.

You may notice that two of Windstream’s plan names list a range of speeds. We’re not sure why these plans, in particular, have a range, but Windstream says it will tell you the exact speed range when you finish signing up for the plan.

More than likely, Windstream’s approach is similar to AT&T Internet’s: it tries to get your download speed as close to the maximum speed listed in the range. But certain factors are out of its control, like the condition of the wiring inside your home, how close you are to the network hub, and more.

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How many Mbps do you need?
Need a refresher course on what Mbps are and how many you need? Check out our guide to Mbps and our recommendations for download speed.

Another thing to note about Windstream’s internet plans is that the advertised prices are promotional. They will almost always go up after 12 months. So take a careful look at that fine print. (To be fair, this is pretty common among ISPs.)

When you compare Windstream’s prices for Ball Ground, Georgia, to offerings from other internet providers like CenturyLink, Suddenlink, and Xfinity, it holds up pretty well. (And if you compare it to satellite internet, which is another common rural internet option, Windstream’s prices and speeds look absolutely fantastic.)

We should note that Xfinity’s top-end price is for its 2,000 Mbps plan, which is limited to very small areas of the US. A more reasonable comparison is Xfinity’s 1,000 Mbps plan, which rings in at just a little less than Windstream’s 1,000 Mbps plan.

Windstream price comparison
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsData capLearn more
Windstream Internet$28.99$90251000 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
CenturyLink Internet$49$6515940 Mbps1 TBView Plans
Suddenlink Internet$34.99$74.99^1001000 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
Xfinity Internet$24.99$299.95°152000 Mbps1 TBUnlimitedView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
For the first 12 months.
New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.
^ Plus taxes, fees, and other charges. Price for Life. Customer must remain in good standing and up to date on bill payments to remain on Price For Life.
° For the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.

On the other hand, if you can nab a Suddenlink 100, 200, or 400 Mbps plan, it’s a better deal. But Windstream’s Kinetic Gig plan offers the same speeds for less than the Suddenlink 1 Gig plan costs. So if you’re after as much speed as you can get, Windstream is the better choice between the two.

Windstream service areas

If you’re considering Windstream internet, you probably live in a rural area. Yup, Windstream brings the internet to towns like Lake City, Florida; Cedar Falls, Iowa; and Tollesboro, Kentucky.

We love that Windstream is keeping the folks back home connected. To get an idea of whether Windstream is available near you, here’s a map of its coverage area plus a list of the states it offers service in.

A map showing Windstream internet service

Source: Windstream.com

States with Windstream internet service

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Texas

Windstream internet speed and data

Windstream offers a variety of reliable download speeds, and its unlimited data is a real gem.

Windstream is DSL internet service, which runs through your phone line. And while satellite internet might be convenient if you’re totally off-grid, DSL internet can offer higher speeds and higher (in Windstream’s case, unlimited) data caps.

Here’s a look at the download speeds Windstream provides, which look great compared to the 100 Mbps download speed Viasat’s satellite internet currently maxes out at.

Windstream download speeds
ProviderDownload speeds
Windstream Internet251000 Mbps

And if you’re lucky enough to get the Windstream Kinetic Gig plan, you’ll be surfing the web on fiber internet. (We highly recommend fiber due to its fast speeds and high reliability.)

More good news: Windstream scored an average of 95.6% on the most recent Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) actual-to-advertised speeds report.2 That means you’ll usually get the speeds you’re actually paying for, though we’d like to see Windstream hit 100%—or higher.

Windstream internet FCC 2018 speed scores2
ProviderAverage actual/advertised speed
Windstream95.6%

Data caps

Unlike CenturyLink and Xfinity, Windstream has no data caps. None. Ze-ro.

That’s stellar news for anyone who likes to download a lot of games or movies—or has to download files when they work from home. You won’t get a passive-aggressive email at 2:30 in the morning warning that you’re this close to meeting your data cap. And you won’t have to pay data overage fees or fork over more money for more data.

We prefer it when internet companies remove restrictions like data caps, so kudos to Windstream for doing just that.

Contracts, equipment, and fees

Windstream’s fees are pretty standard, but we love that there’s no early termination fee.

Windstream internet comes with no contract, and we love to hear that.

That means you’re free to cancel your Windstream service any time you want without early termination fees putting a dent in your wallet that’s deeper than the Mariana Trench.

Still, keep in mind that Windstream’s advertised prices are good for 12 months. When month 13 rolls around, you will see a jump in your internet bill—and that’s never fun.

This is, unfortunately, a common practice for most internet providers. But there are a few that offer a price for life guarantee that says customers who pay their bills on time, don’t swap plans, and “remain in good standing” will pay the same monthly price for internet forever. You can read about CenturyLink’s, Suddenlink’s, and Optimum’s price for life guarantees in our reviews.

Equipment

User reviews suggest that Windstream usually charges around $10 a month to rent a modem. That adds up to an extra $120 a year, and that’s about the cost of buying your own equipment.

If you’d like to skip renting and buy your own equipment, our recommended modem and router combo is the TP-Link TD-8816 modem and router combo* from Amazon. It’s compatible with Windstream and a solid choice to boot.

Just be aware that “Windstream offers very limited support for broadband DSL modems not issued by Windstream.”3 (But we’ll help you set up your modem and router and troubleshoot internet issues with our guides.)

*Reviews.org utilizes paid Amazon links.

Service fees

We love that Windstream published a guide to the charges you might see on your first bill. In a nutshell, here’s what to expect when you sign up for Windstream:

  • Activation fee: This is a one-time fee of $50 to start your service.
  • Installation fees: $35 for a technician to install Windstream internet, and another $65 if you need a phone jack installed.
  • Early termination fees: No contract means no early termination fee, so you’re off the hook here.

Customer service

Windstream is known for lackluster customer service, but so is the rest of the internet industry.

Take a peek around the internet, and it won’t take you long to run into some angry Windstream customers. From no one answering the phone to random internet service disconnects, Windstream’s got a rap for some pretty bad customer service.

And the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report matches the sentiment of Windstream’s disgruntled customers, scoring the ISP a 57 out of 100.4 That’s a failing grade if we ever saw one.

Windstream customer service rating4
Windstream ACSI 2019 rating
57 out of 100

If you need to contact Windstream’s customer service, we have a few tips that might help you keep a clear head and not flip your desk while you wait on hold:

  1. Send an email or use online chat. Nothing’s worse than getting stuck on hold, and chat or email let you continue living your life while you wait for a response. Plus, both of these options give you written proof of what your Windstream rep said or promised.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Some of us don’t enjoy negotiation, and others don’t like talking to sales agents. But it’s very important to clearly state why you’re calling: what your problem is and what can resolve that for you. And if your current representative isn’t helpful, you can most definitely ask to speak with someone else.
  3. Do your research. If your internet service has been out for days and you’ve called several times before, keep logs of the dates and times you’ve called. If you’re negotiating for a lower monthly bill, have competing internet providers’ offers on hand. Having this kind of research and proof makes your case stronger.

You can reach Windstream customer service here:

Our picks: The best Windstream internet plans

Best for small families: High-Speed Internet 50–100 Mbps

Who it’s best for: Small households who stream and game a little

Why we picked it: Windstream’s 50–100 Mbps plan will try to get you as close to 100 Mbps as possible, making it a great option for households of two or three people. Those 100 Mbps download speeds are even enough to rewatch The Walking Dead on Netflix or play a bit of Call of Duty: Warzone.

Tier 2 High Speed Internet 50-100 Mbps
Windstream Internet
Download speed:
100 Mbps
$55 a month

Data effective 3/24/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 12 months. Price includes $19.00 promotional credit.

Best for smart homes and large families: Kinetic Gig

Who it’s best for: Large families, small businesses, and gamers

Why we picked it: Buckle up for gig speeds. Your whole family—and we mean children and cousins and everyone—could stream simultaneously, and you’d still have some bandwidth left over. This plan could compete with any of the best internet plans for gaming, and we think it’s a great pick for anyone who works from home or runs a boatload of smart home devices too.

Tier 2 Kinetic Gig
Windstream Internet
Download speed:
1000 Mbps
$75 a month

Data effective 3/24/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 12 months. Price includes $19.00 promotional credit.

Recap: Is Windstream good?

If you live in a rural area, it can be slim pickings for high-speed internet. Windstream may be one of the better options in your area, but it’s definitely worth comparing its plans to those of competitors like CenturyLink, Suddenlink, AT&T Internet, and satellite internet providers.

  • Plans and prices: Windstream offers a nice variety of speeds, so it’s easy to find the right plan for your needs. But its prices may hold a few surprises since they change based on where you live—prices may differ even in the same state.
  • Internet speed: Windstream’s DSL plans are faster than satellite internet, and it holds up pretty well when it comes to actually delivering the speeds it promises. It also offers unlimited data, which is a big win in our book.
  • Customer service: Windstream is not the star of the customer service show. We hope it and other ISPs start treating their customers better and resolving issues like outages more quickly.

Recap: Windstream internet plans

Here’s a second look at what you might expect for Windstream internet prices.

Data effective 3/24/2019. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 12 months. Price includes $19.00 promotional credit.

  • lori wengle

    After 8 years of lies and deception, I have to speak out. Run from Luciana Evans

    The newest deception is a contract I signed last August to
    fix my water on the line issues with AT & T who Windstream buys lines
    from. If I went from 350/mo to 450/mo my problem would be
    solved. I have a signed contract should
    be easy.

    WINDSTREAMS CONTRACT SAYS EVEN IF YOU HAVE A SIGNED CONTRACT
    THEY DONT HAVE TO HONOR THOSE PRICES.
    Per Christy Moody VP of legal and a good Catholic girl(not) here is what
    they said

    Plante, Jennifer

    AttachmentsJul 25

    Dear Lori,

    Thank you, again, for your patience. Legal has advised on the matter and it is our
    position that we rely on the Terms and Conditions of our contract. Section 18 (Disclaimer of Warranties) states,
    “No oral or written advice or information by Windstream’s employees, agents or
    contractors shall create a warranty, and Customer may not rely on any such
    information.”

    OK new contract for 466/mo plus fees meaning 600/mo and
    still my invoices are not correct…
    another two months and time to go to court.

    RUN AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY

  • Ryusho Yosei

    Forcefully c hanging our internet from 6 Mbps to 1 Mbps without telling us, and only found out from a tech when he told us -five days later- after coming to our place, Unable to even average 0.3 Mbps because of the sheer water line damage they -REFUSE TO FIX- and it’s a known issue the techs even admit it has been complained about several times…..and they are the only landline in the area so they are getting away with this without any repercussions….

  • AceDesu

    Download speeds, at 6 Mbps? HAHAHA NO WAY.
    My peak download speed is 80 Kbps Kilobytes… That is less than 1 Mbps. Not to mention that at times this incredibly low number dips into 30 Kbps. Do yourself a favor, don’t get Windstream; I’m actually going to get an unlimited plan with Verizon, so I can use the WiFi hot spot instead. It’s 5 times faster and the the cost of the plan is off set by us canceling our Windstream bill.
    The only worth while thing about Windstream is no data cap…But Verizon just beat them.

  • Joseph Viviano

    I have a small business that originally was with PAETEC which was bought by Windstream. I needed to switch providers while switching my phone routing software. Porting away from Windstream has been a nightmare. Three of my numbers failed to port because the Windstream techs “could not find evidence of that number being associated with my account”. It has taken me THREE WEEKS and 2 of my 3 have been rectified and they have acknowledged that the 3rd one I own and they made a mistake and “lost”. They admitted that a week ago and this morning I was told the team that was handling my issue rejected the order over a technicality where my customer service rep made a mistake in the request. So no one has touched my issue for a week, a new rep told me she would tell me in 2 days what the progress was. Meanwhile any customer that calls that number is indefinitely on hold while a message plays that tells them that my business appreciates their call and a salesperson will be with them shortly. I have never in my life gone around writing reviews for a business, but I have never in my career experienced such poor customer service and such a high level of service reps not giving a crap about my small business.

  • David N Sherry Hughes

    We moved into a newly developed neighborhood where the only service available was Windstream. The technician was scheduled to come out between 8-12 that AM and by 1PM was still not there and no phone call. I called the 800 number around 2:30 and they told that “they were working on it at the sub station and they should be at my house by 3.” 4:40 rolls around and still no one and no phone call, so I called again to only get the same story that they were “working on it” and to give them til 7PM. I said 7 PM at the latest and if not then they can cancel our service. 6:30 comes and the technician finally showed up. He was there til 10PM and left a mess of cable all around our house and in our computer room. As if that wasn’t enough, he put a hole in one of our doors and never said anything to us. I called the 800 number the next day to report and was told that they would have the area manager call me. He called that afternoon from a local cell phone number and said that they would send someone out to assess the damage. Needless to say, no one ever came out. We attempted to call his number over the next 2 weeks and got no answer and no return calls after leaving several messages. I called the 800 number again and was told to give them 24-48hrs for someone to contact me. I gave them almost a week and still no call. I called once again and was given the same story…24-48hrs. I told them that I’ve heard this story before. Well, to make a long story short…after numerous phone calls, numerous messages and waiting over a month for someone to even call let alone fix the damage that THEY caused, we still have a hole in our door and no response. I’ve contacted the BBB and will be contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs and an attorney for a lawsuit. This company is absolutely one of the worst…if not the worst…I’ve EVER dealt with. As far as a rating for them…well, I give them NO starts..0!

  • Fred Ellis

    Windstream service has always sucked. Unfortunately it’s the only service available in my area but I’ve always had problems with customer service, the internet going down, over pricing and under speed. If you have any other internet service available in your area I would recommend avoiding Windstream. Truly the art of the worst internet company I’ve ever dealt with in my life and I hear that from everybody that I talk to about Windstream. Avoid Windstream if at all possible

  • Michelle Mayfield

    Windstream is terrible! I had the service in Lavonia GA for about 6 months without issue before I bought my house in Homer GA (30 miles away) and had it transferred. There were problems from the start. My account said “$0 due” (thought my husband paid it, etc) and when it was shut off I called and found out it was shut off due to nonpayment. I found out that when I transferred my service they closed that account and opened up a whole new one and didn’t bother to tell me. New account had a different log in so I was getting the wrong information (old account). I found out at this point that the $60 per month I was supposed to be paying was more like $120 per month after they tacked on a bunch of government fees, etc and charged me for a phone line I neither wanted, requested, nor even had hooked up. So at this point I told them where they could stick their service and paid them in full. About a month ago after using our phone hotspot my husband decided he really wanted the service again so he would have a dedicated line he didn’t have to relog into every time he wanted to watch TV and since they are the only non satellite ISP we didn’t have any other options (satellite tends to go down in bad weather and they quoted us $150 per month for crap service). They set the appointment for last Wed 1/3 for a four hour window. When the technician didn’t show we called and were told “oh we gave it to the wrong technician, we’re going to have to reschedule for next week.” Husband not happy but said “okay” and the appointment was scheduled for today (Wed 1/10). We received a call last night saying the technician would be showing up between 1145-345. Around 330 my husband gets an automated call saying the appointment has been moved to 2-6 (keep in mind it’s already 330 so 2 had come and gone). Technician called an hour later (430) to say we were signed up for the wrong plan and we need DSL so they’re going to have to reschedule for next week. We are wondering why since there was previously service here before and their office is only 6 miles from our house why they didn’t know that to begin with? So, fully frustrated, I dug out my Tmobile standalone hotspot that didn’t work too great at my old place (the reason I got Windstream to begin with) and called them and found out for $25 per month added onto my existing account with them I get unlimited wireless internet AND I can take it anywhere with me that picks up a signal. Works great at the new place! Windstream really needs to work on their customer service and truth in pricing. The whole experience was ridiculous.

  • Ryan Bass

    If you are looking for internet, then this shitnet is perfect for you! As long as you have a 200 sq foot house and only use the internet for looking up food recipes on google this is the perfect one! Also, don’t worry if you want random outages for no specific reason other than the internet doesn’t want to work anymore, then buy this companies internet.
    Don’t fret, when the internet goes out you just reset the router, wait the 15 minutes for it to come back on, only for it to not work the first 4 times you try to reset it!
    The low range and horrible speeds you get are just the bonus to the wonderful product!
    Highly prefer this shitnet over any of those other high speed and reliable internet providers! Especially because you are locked into a two year contract to experience these extremely wonderful issues that occur almost daily.

  • Bobby Johnson

    Windstream is the sorriest excuse for an service provider. They have no concept of what the term “provider” means and they have no concept of what customer service is supposed to be. If they don’t like you question or comment about their service they just hang up. And the worst part is senior management doesn’t care. As long as you pay your bill, they don’t care what quality of service you receive.

  • Crystal Boone

    They are horrible.

  • Bill Gilbert

    so far, one big issue I have with windstream, that has not been resolved yet, would be that: 1. I use MAIL to read and sometimes send any windstream account email. that is fine and dandy, but there is one major issue: I can not empty my email trash.
    this needs to improve. not being able to empty email trash is unsatisfactory. FYI: I have googled for trouble shooting tips, tried the tips that were given; still can not empty my windstreaam email trash, IN MAIL. I can hardly wait to get Allo available in my building , I may just switch ASAP, when that option exists. further, I am NOT impressed with Spec trum, so that is not considered by me. I also take a hard look at price for what I get.

  • Bill Gilbert

    a little update I heard with Windstream: I heard from a stock holder, that Windstream may, possibly be selling. good IF we get a better co. and not a worse one.

  • Tiny Forest

    I’m on my 9th Windstream router in 10 months. The routers barely last4-5 weeks then the Internet is down and I have to wait for the service tech. It has been down this time for 8 days. The phone techs are always very nice but after almost a year of this constant service interruption, I would switch to ANYONE else that serviced this area. 9 routers in 10 months and there is no alternative to Windstream in my area if I want DSL.

  • Shelby Cook

    Hers my deal i have high speed internet plan and its charge is $60…around $90 once all is said and done …now the definition of high speed internet is 25Mbps im getting maybe 4…..the package says what at 56 dollars you get a 1000Mbps im not even near the min.