Home & Office
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Windstream internet review

Our review looks at Windstream 's pricing plans, download speeds, additional features and all the information you need to know if this ISP is right for you.
Written by Jason Lee, Contributing Writer

Windstream Internet is a company in business since 2006 with several high-quality internet options for just under half the states in America. Some of the highlights include no data caps, bundling discounts, no long-term contracts, and easy-to-understand plan options. Pricing depends heavily on where you're located within the service area, which makes the comparison to other companies a bit of a challenge. Speed-wise, even the slowest advertised plan carries 200Mbps of download speed, which is more than enough for most casual internet users. 

Overall, Windstream is certainly a competitor that should make your shortlist of potential internet service providers (ISPs) if you fall within the service area.

Windstream internet overview

Currently, Windstream doesn't have much for ratings from some of the major players in the oversight industry like J.D. Power and the Better Business Bureau. Part of this could be because the company went through bankruptcy and restructuring as a private company that started last year and was finally approved by a judge a few months back.  

While this might sound like a red flag, the new plan significantly lowers the company's debt and gives Windstream access to $2 billion to expand the Gig internet service to rural parts of the country. In other words, the company is using bankruptcy as an opportunity to create a stronger product for its current customers and deliver better service to other parts of America. Specifically, it looks like the company is aiming to bring enhanced coverage to rural parts of America that ISPs often overlook.


  • No long-term contracts: month-to-month, cancel anytime.
  • Bundling deals available for customers also looking for TV and phone service
  • Options available for residential, business, enterprise, or wholesale


  • Variable pricing based on your location
  • Service is limited to some communities across 21 different states


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

Windstream internet plans and prices

PlanDownload SpeedPriceNumber of Devices Supported
Kinetic 200200MbpsVariesN/A
Kinetic 500500MbpsVariesN/A
Kinetic GIG1GB (1000Mbps)VariesN/A
*Data accurate as of 9/21/2020

Windstream speeds and data caps

PlanDownload SpeedPriceNumber of Devices Supported
Kinetic 200200MbpsVariesN/A
Kinetic 500500MbpsVariesN/A
Kinetic GIG1GB (1000Mbps)VariesN/A
*Data accurate as of 9/21/2020

Windstream estimated speeds

With Windstream, you've got three different options when it comes to speed: 200Mbps, 500Mbps, or the 1GB plan. While this is fewer options than some other providers, it's really all you need. You've got a slower and more affordable option, a middle of the road option, and for those looking to increase their internet speed to the max, an option for that. Some providers offer way more flexibility, which sounds good in theory, but it could be overkill with too many options.

The company doesn't list upload speeds, but we expect them to be on par with the rest of the ISP industry leaders.

Data caps

A concern you need to consider when looking at internet providers is whether there is a cap on the amount of data you can use every month. When it comes to Windstream, all plans have no data caps and no overage charges.

Additionally, the company states it doesn't manage network congestion by reducing the speed on higher-data-using customers (a practice known as throttling).

Our pick for Windstream internet plan

  • Kinetic Gig: Best for streaming, gaming, and video meetings
  • Kinetic 200: Best for everyday use like social media, research, email, and streaming

Windstream internet highlights

Contracts and fees

One of the great features uncovered during our Windstream internet reviews is that there are no long-term contracts. Each of the three available residential internet accounts operates on a month-to-month basis, which gives you the user a lot of flexibility. If you're not happy with your service, you can contact the company and cancel it.

As many ISPs work in hidden costs that increase through the lifespan of your contract, this is another welcome sight. Additionally, the cost transparency ensures you won't walk into any surprises.

Notable fees:

  • Varies by contract: No additional details provided by website or customer service

Customer service

Compared with other ISP companies, Windstream has a comparable number of complaints on some of the major sources like the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Unfortunately, the details for those complaints have been hidden from the BBB website and marked as resolved or answered. While it's good to see that the company is taking an active approach to handling complaints, it would be nice to be able to see what people were struggling with.

If you choose to get your internet through Windstream and run into the need for support, you do have several avenues to get assistance. The company offers phone support, live chat, email, and FAQs to help. One thing that's nice about the phone support is that all agents seem well-trained and fluent in English.

The agents do even take down a phone number at the beginning of your call to call you back in case you get disconnected. While this is great in theory, we were disconnected during the review process and didn't receive a callback. One-off instance? Maybe, but it didn't leave a good impression.

Additional features

Starting at $9.99 per month, the company offers Kinetic Secure by Windstream. The service provides added security enhancements to help beef up the quality of your online experience. Tenets of the service include parental controls, enhanced browsing protection, identity theft protection, and an upgraded tech support experience. While we think these would be better off just included with the service, it's still nice to know they're available options.

Additionally, the company offers TV and phone services that can be bundled with any of the internet plans for additional service and savings.

For business and enterprise-level customers, Windstream offers several customizable and scalable plans to meet your internet needs. Fiber internet starts at $49.99 monthly with a two-year commitment.

Windstream vs competitors

PlanDownload SpeedPriceNumber of Devices Supported
Kinetic 200200MbpsVariesN/A
Kinetic 500500MbpsVariesN/A
Kinetic GIG1GB (1000Mbps)VariesN/A
*Data accurate as of 9/21/2020

*Prices for stand-alone internet service, current as of 9/21/2020. Prices may vary by location. Contract length may vary, and it's subject to the starting price presented above.

Is Windstream internet any good?

From our Windstream Internet review, it looks like the company is certainly a contender when it comes to ISP options. 

The company offers three great options that each meets a different service need. Windstream has a "slower" option for people that don't have high-speed needs. Above that, there's a middle-of-the-road option and a high-speed option that is on par with the fastest options on the market.

It's also important to note that the "slowest" advertised option is still faster than the speeds you'll get with other companies (200Mbps). With these speeds, you can still download an entire HD movie in less than one minute.

So, overall, Windstream is certainly a good option. It would be nice to see more accessible pricing, and for the company to expand service beyond the 21 states, it currently services.

Windstream FAQ

What is Windstream's best plan, and how much does it cost?

Windstream's best plan depends on your needs. Unless you're a heavy gamer or have high streaming demands, the most basic Kinetic 200Mbps plan should be more than enough speed. 

The price of this plan depends on where you're located within the company's 21-state coverage area.

Where is Windstream available?

Currently, you can get Windstream service in 21 different states across the U.S. Most of the states are located in the eastern half of the U.S., the midwest, and the southwest. While service is offered in these states, it's not available in every community. 

You will need to check with the company to see if your address is included in the coverage area.

What is Windstream Kinetic internet?

Windstream's Kinetic Internet is the company's high-speed home and business internet solution. For residential, service comes in three separate plans with download speeds ranging from 200Mbps to 1GB.

Is Windstream DSL, cable or fiber?

Windstream offers DSL and fiber internet options.

Editorial standards