Frontier gets final PURA approval for AT&T Connecticut wireline asset acquisition

Frontier Communications has cleared the last major hurdle in its pending purchase of AT&T's (NYSE: T) wireline operations in Connecticut as the State of Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has given its final approval of the acquisition.

PURA's approval is the last regulatory step Frontier needed to complete the deal and start the integration of the AT&T assets into its fold.

Getting to this point has been anything but easy.

In late August, PURA denied a settlement the telco reached with state officials. At that time PURA said that the settlement, which was jointly written by Connecticut's Attorney General George Jepsen and Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz, did not properly address the needs of Connecticut residents.

Frontier had to make a number of concessions to gain approval of the Connecticut acquisition. The service provider cut a deal with the Connecticut Attorney General in which it agreed to not increase the rates for basic primary residential service for 36 months. Earlier, it said it would extend U-verse service initially to an additional 100,000 customers

During the course of the 10-month review process, Frontier presented PURA with information on its products and services, capital investment, workforce management and charitable activities in the state. The service provider got the support of Connecticut's Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Consumer Counsel and Communications Workers of America Local 1298, which initially was against the deal.

In giving its final approval of the acquisition, PURA said it found Frontier's "acquisition of AT&T Connecticut operations to be in the public interest and that Frontier has the financial, technological and managerial suitability required to provide safe and reliable service."

About 2,600 AT&T employees who currently serve Connecticut customers will become Frontier employees when the deal formally closes on Oct. 24.

Leading up the Connecticut operations will be Paul Quick, who will serve as senior vice president and general manager. It also recently appointed Edward H. O'Connor Jr. to lead sales efforts as vice president of sales for Connecticut.

Mirroring the local strategy it has used when it acquired Verizon's rural assets in 2010, the service provider will also have area general managers in Fairfield, New Haven, Hartford and Litchfield counties and in eastern Connecticut (Tolland, Windham, New London and Middlesex counties).

For more:
- see the release

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