Frontier Communications (Nasdaq: FTR) has met performance goals set by state regulators in West Virginia, which became the telco's largest market when it completed the purchase of Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) rural lines in 2010, reports The Charleston Daily Mail.
In May 2010, the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Frontier's purchase with a number of conditions.
Among those conditions was a requirement that the telco would invest almost $280 million to improve POTS service quality and expand broadband availability in the state. Also, Frontier had to be able to deliver broadband service to 85 percent of the households in the state that were served over Verizon's network by the end of 2014.
One of the big benefits of the nearly $300 million investment that Frontier made in the West Virginia network is a 25 percent reduction in of service interruptions and customer complaints between July 2010 and April 2013. What's more, the PSC said that customer complaints dropped 57 percent from May 2012 to May 2013.
Dana Waldo, Frontier's senior VP and general manager in West Virginia told the Daily Mail that they "have met all of those (conditions)."
Now that it has resolved many of what it said were "band-aid" fixes that Verizon used to repair issues on its network, the telco has been focusing its attention on broadband expansion. As of the end of last year, Frontier said it had enabled almost 86 percent of the state's households with broadband, a figure that rose to 87 percent by the end of this March.
Leveraging a mix of its own capital and federal funding via the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), Waldo said that the service provider will continue to invest in expanding broadband availability in the state. It has used $42 million in BTOP funds to build out 675 new miles of fiber and provide services to 647 West Va. communities.
"We still have expansion plans," he said. "We want to bring access to every place we can in West Virginia where it's economically feasible."
But even with all of the progress Frontier has made in expanding broadband capabilities in the state, it still faces a number of key challenges. The state, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), ranks 49th in broadband availability and only 59.1 percent of state households have a broadband subscription.
As it completes more broadband rollouts in West Virginia, Frontier may lure more customers by advertising its $19.99 monthly DSL service with a three-year contract.
- The Charleston Daily Mail has this article
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