Windstream Internet Review 2019

It could be your best or worst option for rural high-speed internet.
Recommended Plans
Our Rating
Our Rating
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
High Speed Internet 25 Mbps$19.9925 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
High Speed Internet 300-400 Mbps$30400 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
Kinetic Gig$501000 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
PriceDownload speedData capDetails
$19.9925 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
$30400 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
$501000 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans

Just because you live far away from the hustle and bustle of the city doesn’t mean you don’t want to be connected to the world. But it’s not always easy to find reliable high-speed internet out in the country.

Windstream is trying to change that. While the company has had a rocky history (including a recent bankruptcy1), it’s managed to create high-speed internet networks in rural areas, from southern Texas up to the Canadian border.

The biggest issue with Windstream is that its plans are all over the place—literally.

We found plans in Nebraska that are great deals and plans in Iowa that are ripoffs. The company also has some issues with customer service and hidden fees.

So before you lock yourself into a plan from Windstream, make sure to check what competitors like Frontier and Viasat have to offer in your area too.

Pros

  • No contracts or data caps
  • Great deals (sometimes)

Cons

  • Prices that go up after a year
  • Poor customer service

Compare Windstream internet prices in your area.

Windstream prices and plans

Windstream has some great deals. Just pay attention to the details.

You know how at the end of a commercial someone’s voice quickly lists off a bunch of disclaimers (“offeronlyvalidwhereavailableindividualresultsmayvary”)? Well, Windstream really needs one of those guys because its plans are not uniform.

Just like several other ISPs, Windstream switches up speeds and pricing depending on which region of the US you’re talking about.

For example, we came across a 15 Mbps internet plan for $20 in Nebraska, a 25 Mbps plan for $55 in Iowa, and a 12 Mbps plan for $33 in Kentucky.

Rather than rely too heavily on the plans listed here, it’s best to look for yourself at what Windstream offers in your area. But here are a few popular plans to give you a ballpark idea of Windstream’s prices.

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.

Data effective 09/24/19. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months.

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What’s an Mbps again?
Need a refresher course on what Mbps are and how many you need? Look no further.

Another thing to note about Windstream’s internet plans is that the advertised prices—which are awesomely low—are promotional. They will almost always go up after 12 months. So take a careful look at that fine print.

Comparing Windstream to competitors

If we decide to take Windstream’s promotional prices at face value, it actually compares quite well to the competition. It’s cheaper than similar plans from other DSL providers like CenturyLink and AT&T. In fact, Windstream is considered one of the best budget DSL providers.

And as for its faster speeds, Windstream’s Kinetic Gig plan is only available in a few locations, but it’s a screamin’ deal compared to other super fast internet plans.

Windstream bundles

Windstream doesn’t just offer internet. It also has home phone and TV services in select areas. But much like Windstream’s internet plans, the details of these bundles are wildly different depending on where you’re located.

We suggest that you check out what the company offers in your area. It could save you some money on your internet, phone, and TV bills.

Windstream internet speed and data

Its speeds are faster than the slowest internet and slower than the fastest.

If you’re considering Windstream internet, you probably live in a rural area (shout out to Hazard, Kentucky; Pawnee City, Nebraska; and Unionville, Iowa). And in most of rural America, there are only two choices for internet: DSL (like Windstream) and satellite.

Source: Windstream.com

Satellite internet can be convenient if you’re totally off-grid. But DSL, which runs through your phone line, can offer higher speeds and higher data caps.

Windstream download speeds
Download speeds
Windstream251000 Mbps

Data effective 09/24/19. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

In some limited locations, Windstream has installed a fiber-optic network that can offer download and upload speeds way beyond what DSL, satellite, or even cable can offer. But in most places, fiber is still a few years away.

Unfortunately, most of Windstream’s plans (aka the non-fiber ones) have poor upload speeds. This won’t affect most daily activities, like streaming or surfing the web, but it’s bad news if you’re excited about playing some Borderlands 3 online.

One piece of good news for Windstream is that the company has scored between 86.52% and 99.71% on the most recent FCC’s actual-to-advertised speeds report, meaning that you’ll usually get the speeds you’re actually paying for.2

Data caps

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

Contracts, equipment, and fees

“No contract” doesn’t necessarily mean no problems.

Windstream’s services are contract-free, but that’s not all good news. Without a contract, Windstream can raise its prices as much as it wants, whenever it wants. And word on the street is that the company takes full advantage of this fact.

Equipment

User reviews suggest that Windstream usually charges around $10 a month to rent a modem.

If you’d like to skip this by buying your own equipment, just beware that “Windstream offers very limited support for broadband DSL modems not issued by Windstream.”3

That doesn’t mean they’re not available, though. We’d suggest buying this TP-LINK ADSL2+ Modem Router from Amazon. It’s compatible with Windstream and a solid choice to boot.

Service fees

Oh yes, there will be fees. Here are the ones you should expect:

  • Installation fee: $35 for a standard installation and another $65 if you need a jack installed.
  • One-time fee: $50 to “activate” your account.
  • Early termination fees: No contract means no early termination fee, so you’re off the hook here. Booyah!

Customer service

You want Windstream to provide internet and pick up the phone when you have a problem? Sheesh! So needy.

So your internet has gone out while you’re watching the latest episode of The Walking Dead, and you’re not going to be okay until you figure out what happens to Daryl. How helpful is Windstream going to be in this situation?

The answer is, about as helpful as a horde of zombies. Unfortunately, Windstream is among the lowest-rated companies in the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s 2018–2019 telecommunications report.4

Windstream customer service rating
Windstream
ACSI 2019 rating57 out of 100

But Windstream does have a knack for reinventing itself, so maybe it will improve its customer service and prove us wrong.

You can reach Windstream customer service here:

Our picks: the best Windstream internet plans

Best for solo web surfers: High-Speed Internet 25 Mbps

Who it’s best for: Low-use households and college students

Why we picked it: Windstream’s lowest tier of internet service offers 25 Mbps of speed. While it might not be the best internet for streaming, it’s cheap and should be just fine for watching Netflix on one or two devices.

Tier 1 High Speed Internet 25 Mbps
Windstream Internet
Download speed:
25 Mbps
Data cap:
Unlimited
$19.99 a month

Best for gamers and families of streamers: 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.

Tier 1 Kinetic Gig
Windstream Internet
Download speed:
1000 Mbps
Data cap:
Unlimited
$50 a month

Recap: Is Windstream good?

Fast(ish), cheap(ish), contract-free internet for rural communities.

If you live in a rural area, it can be slim pickings for high-speed internet. Windstream may be the best option in your area, but it’s definitely worth comparing its plans to those of competitors like Frontier and satellite internet providers.

  • Plans: Windstream’s internet plans differ widely from place to place, but if you’re in the right area, you can snag a great deal.
  • Speed: Windstream’s DSL plans are faster than satellite internet, but that’s not saying much. We hope the company expands its fiber network to more regions.
  • Customer service: Let’s just say customer service at Windstream leaves a lot to be desired.

If you live off the beaten path, we’d love to know what internet service provider you use and why. Drop us a line in the comments section.

Compare Windstream plans near you.

  • 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.