Frontier CEO says fiber to the tower a boon to local businesses

Frontier Communications (Nasdaq: FTR) is finding that the fiber to the tower (FTTT) builds it is conducting for its wireless operator customers is a good foundation to deliver fiber-based services to area businesses.

"One of the positives we're now just starting to exploit is that when you deliver fiber to the tower you can to start selling fiber-based services to businesses along that route to any commercial business in those areas," said Maggie Wilderotter, CEO and chairman of Frontier, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We think that in addition to multiple players on the tower and maximizing the infrastructure that's there you also have the opportunity to maximize the infrastructure to get to the tower."

Over this growing fiber network, the service provider is increasing the availability of its Ethernet service.

Wilderotter said that they have rolled out the service to "80-85 percent of the country at this point and hope by the end of the year we'll be complete on Ethernet availability."

Besides Ethernet, the service provider introduced a new series of bundles focused on the small business customers it serves in its regions.

By offering these bundles, the service provider has seen what Wilderotter said was "the highest conversion rates in small business sales."

Supporting these new efforts are decentralized sales teams in its regions and new distribution channels for local agents, national agents and online agents for small business.

Wilderotter said that these new channels have "really helped stabilize the number of customers we have in business and stabilize churn."

In the wireless backhaul arena, Frontier continues to make headway with its wireless customers in selling higher bandwidth fiber and Ethernet-based solutions.

However, the telco faces the same common challenge that every wireline operator faces as more of its wireless operators migrate from copper-based T1 to fiber-based Ethernet services.

"We have had some headwinds as we have converted fiber to the cell from TDM to Ethernet, but we think by the middle of next year we're through all that," Wilderotter said. "We've been public that it's been $25 to $30 million this year in headwinds."

On the Hot Seat: Frontier's Wilderotter puts emphasis on enhancing broadband

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