Frontier continues to expand broadband in former AT&T, Verizon territories

Frontier Communications said in an FCC filing that it is on track with the broadband expansions it promised to make when it purchased Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) rural assets in 2010 and AT&T's (NYSE: T) Connecticut wireline assets in 2014.

In the Verizon territories it acquired, some of the expansion progress can be clearly seen in areas like California, Washington and West Virginia where broadband was once only available in a small part of each state. This was because the areas they served were remote and were hard to build a business case to invest in equipment to deliver service. 

When it purchased the Verizon rural assets in 2010, Frontier gained 12 telephone exchanges in California, serving about 17,700 households. Out of those 12 exchanges, Frontier said that at the time it purchased the assets, broadband was only deployed in one of the 12 exchanges. Over the past five years, Frontier wrote in an FCC filing, it has made broadband "available to over 14,700 households, or 82 percent of households in those acquired exchanges."

Washington State's Guemes Island also posed an access challenge in that the community, which has a population of 739 people, can only be accessed by ferry from the town of Anacortes. Beginning in August, the service provider will provide broadband service over a hybrid network that incorporates microwave transport and VDSL2 over the existing copper facilities on the island.

"To deliver this service, Frontier will deploy microwave radio transport to provide support for two remote sites on the island and equip them each with Adtran Total Access 5000 series VDSL (very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line) switches," wrote Frontier. "This technology will allow Frontier to deliver Internet speeds of up to 24 Mbps for residential customers and up to 40 Mbps for businesses, depending on their proximity to the switches."

A similar situation existed in West Virginia. Beginning in 2011, Frontier started extending broadband service to a number of rural towns in the state like Leon.

"In the town of Leon, population 199, where Frontier extended service, about 100 out of 150 students in the Leon elementary school subscribed to Frontier's broadband service at home," wrote Frontier.

Frontier is also making progress in Connecticut market, a market into which it deepened its reach  when it purchased AT&T's wireline assets in 2014. In Connecticut, Frontier is using a mix of copper-based VDSL and GPON to expand 10 Mbps broadband speeds to over 100,000 households in the state while building a high-speed middle mile fiber network, which will allow Frontier to provide 10 Gigabit services to area businesses and carriers.

"Since this transaction closed in October 2014, Frontier has made network improvements in order to expand IP-based broadband and video service to about 80% of its central offices, which are now capable of supporting increased speeds and capacity," wrote Frontier.

Its commitments don't end with the Verizon and AT&T purchases. When it completes its acquisition of Verizon's wireline assets in California, Florida and Texas, Frontier said in an earlier FCC filing that it will leverage its eligible funding from the Connect America Fund's second phase (CAF II) to bring broadband services to underserved areas of California and Texas.

In June, Frontier announced that it had accepted $283 million annually in CAF II support from the FCC to deploy broadband to more than 650,000 high-cost rural locations throughout its current 28-state service area.

For more:
- see this FCC filing (.pdf)

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