Windstream got the endorsement of the IRS to transfer their assets - copper and fiber plant - to a REIT and lease those assets back to the telecom corporation. In the process, Windstream will save a ton on taxes. That's awesome.
If it flies, the other ILECs - ATT, C-Link, VZ - will be right behind them. One telco is looking at buying a telco in Ireland to shift the headquarters or at least some tax liability.
These companies are people now with religious beliefs and they are all abandoning supporting the very country that they make their living in. That is not sound business strategy nor is it very Christian of them.
Rural telecom revenues have declined. Debt especially for the big 6 ILECs - Wind, ATT, VZ, CLink, Fairpoint and Frontier - is pretty massive relative to earnings. The copper plant is both a liability and a money maker (according to them). In effect, the REIT is structurally separating the physical plant from the sales and marketing machine. We have wanted that for years. Although I think at this point, it is almost too late to make any meaningful difference for alternative carriers. I don't see the WIND REIT selling copper lines to someone like Birch.
Everything wrong with this industry comes down to the bean counters and lawyers. Tax loopholes, lobbying, lawsuits, and other tactics are all they see and do. Peter Drucker said that a business has 2 purposes: marketing and innovation. The only innovation coming out of these ILECs is how to evade taxes.