SureWest Communications, operator of the third-largest incumbent certified
local-exchange carrier in California, announced Wednesday that it is interested
in buying all or part of bankrupt overbuilder Western Integrated Networks
SureWest provides local and long-distance telephony, Internet connections and
Web hosting, among other services, to 135,000 lines in an 83-square-mile
territory in and around Roseville, Calif.
Roseville is a suburb of Sacramento, where WIN, doing business as WINfirst,
has constructed part of its only fiber-to-the-home broadband system.
Reached Wednesday, WINfirst president Frank Casazza confirmed the talks with
SureWest. Local press reports indicated WINfirst has until Thursday to find new
investors, but Casazza attributed reports of that deadline to
'miscommunication.' WINfirst's next milestone is May 20, when a bankruptcy judge
in Denver will entertain a motion from its creditors to convert its Chapter 11
bankruptcy into a Chapter 7 proceeding. That could force WINfirst to liquidate
In a prepared statement, SureWest president and CEO Brian Strom said, 'WIN
provides broadband services to customers in and adjacent to our service area
where we already have fiber in proximity to most households we serve. While our
interest is preliminary at this point, our strategy is to leverage our network
architecture to become the dominant integrated communications provider in the
Should SureWest acquire WINfirst, it will compete with the AT&T Broadband
system in Sacramento.