Frontier pledges improving service, expanding broadband in Ohio

With Frontier's (NYSE: FTR) integration of the rural phone lines it acquired from Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) in 14 states moving along, the service provider is now turning its attention to Ohio.

Speaking during a business community luncheon at The Ohio State University at Marion, Maggie Wilderotter, Frontier's Chairman and CEO, highlighted the ILEC's commitment to expand broadband, service improvements and job retention/creation in the state. Frontier had to agree to these commitments to gain the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's (PUCO) permission to acquire Verizon's rural phone lines.

Similar to commitments Frontier has made in other states such as West Virginia, Frontier said that it will make broadband available to 85 percent of Ohio's homes by the end of December 2013. Over the next three years, Frontier will invest $50 million each year to meet its broadband expansion plans. If it fails to meet gain 80 percent penetration by 2012, Frontier will have to invest an additional $50 million to improve broadband availability.

"Our local engineering and operations teams have been identifying locations for broadband deployment, with the first new areas scheduled to come on line starting the fourth quarter of this year," said Wilderotter in a release, adding that the service provider will reveal the initial upgrades in the next few weeks. "To accomplish the roll-out, we are already upgrading our physical plant and equipment and training employees so that we can bring high-speed Internet to the underserved and unserved in Ohio."

No less important will be improving and maintaining quality service metrics on the existing phone lines that Verizon all but abandoned. Given that consumers have a lot of choice for their phone and data services, especially hungry cable operators, Frontier faces the obvious challenge of convincing Ohio consumers that it can live up to its promises of expanding broadband and improving service.

For more:
- see the release here

Related articles:
Frontier wraps up acquisition of Verizon's rural lines
Frontier says West Va. Verizon's phone line cutover is on track
Verizon sets date to hand over rural wireline keys to Frontier
Frontier pledges support for FiOS customers
Union members held protest of Frontier/Verizon deal at FCC headquarters
Verizon-Frontier deal gets FCC approval
Frontier gets West Virginia's PSC approval for Verizon rural line purchase