Frontier Communications has completed the first phase of its network upgrade in eastern Washington and northern Idaho as part of a broader effort to increase broadband speeds in both regions.
To date, the service provider has invested more than $50 million in the eastern Washington-northern Idaho region. Over the past year, Frontier said it had invested more than $10 million to develop the new network. These investments were funded with a mix of its own capital and grants it took from the first phase of the FCC's Connect America Fund.
The service provider entered these regions after acquiring Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) rural properties in 14 states in 2010.
"Northeast Idaho is part of acquisition we did with Verizon properties in 2010," said Mike Towne, VP of Idaho for Frontier, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "Over the last four and a half or five years here we have spent a significant amount of time so in doing so every time you add more footprint you need to add more backbone and upgrade the facilities to provide more capabilities."
This upgrade includes the deployment of new routers and optical equipment that Frontier says will increase speeds and available bandwidth. One of the unique elements of these upgrades is that the telco built multi-path routes to provide alternate back-up and automated restoral in the event of an emergency.
Towne said these projects were all about building a more robust backbone with new routes to handle consumer and business traffic. Frontier deployed a series of Adtran TA 5000 platforms.
"It became a whole restructuring by building more circuits, building redundant routes and removing congestion out of the networks and moving to an Ethernet off an ATM platform," Towne said.
But these upgrades are just part of an ongoing program to improve services for area businesses and consumers.
In addition to doubling the output capacity in certain areas of its major communities, the company has additional upgrades scheduled throughout the year.
Enhancing broadband services in the markets it serves is an ongoing effort for Frontier.
The service provider recently announced a deal to acquire Verizon's wireline properties in three states--California, Florida and Texas--a move that will immediately expand its FiOS fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service base to a total of seven states.
While Frontier won't announce its fourth-quarter 2014 earnings until Thursday, the service provider reported in the third quarter of 2014 that it added 21,900 net new broadband customers. As of the end of that reporting period, the service provider had a total of 1.95 million broadband customers.
By completing these upgrades in parts of Washington and Idaho, Frontier will be able to put services potentially into more customers hands while ensuring quality and uptime.
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This article was updated on Feb. 24 with additional information from Frontier.