Frontier to get $29M for West Va. network upgrades

Telco took steps to improve POTS, expand broadband service
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Frontier Communications (Nasdaq: FTR) will be reimbursed over $29 million for its broadband and wireline telephone network upgrades in West Virginia, the telco's largest state.

These reimbursements were approved by the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC), which said in a filing last week that it was happy with the pace of quality improvements for the networks and service quality measurements.

The state will pay out the reimbursements from two escrow accounts that were created in 2010 when Frontier acquired Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) rural lines.

Frontier will get $23.7 million from one account for making necessary upgrades to the voice network, with the remaining $5.4 million addressing broadband expansion initiatives.

Dana Waldo, senior vice president and general manager, said in a release that they have "extended our broadband network in the West Virginia markets we acquired from Verizon in 2010 from 62 percent of the households to more than 83 percent."

One of the improvements in the state came in September when the telco said it would start delivering up to 25 Mbps DSL services to 405,000 West Virginia residential and business customers. Eligible business customers in the path of this upgrade would be able to get up to 40 Mbps speeds.

Outside of the West Virginia market, Frontier has upgraded its network in Ohio's Appalachian area to ADSL2+ to provide 12 and 15 Mbps speeds to consumers and businesses.

While Frontier is banking on broadband as one of its key growth engines, the service provider added only 1,000 new subscribers in Q3 2012.

For more:
- see the release
- The Herald-Dispatch has this article

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