Frontier's West Va. middle mile project nearly complete

Frontier Communications (Nasdaq: FTR) is close to completing its middle mile broadband stimulus project in West Virginia, one that will provide services to various anchor institutions throughout the state.

Although the project was funded with a $126.3 million broadband grant, a Saturday Gazette Mail article citing a West Virginia state report said that over $43.3 million remains unspent. To date, the telco has installed 583 miles of fiber cable to schools, libraries and other state and local government facilities, leaving only seven more miles to build out.

In addition, Frontier has nearly completed 79 miles of an 85-mile middle mile project to provide a fiber connection between West Virginia University and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank in Pocahontas County.

According to the state's report, Frontier is set to get about $45 million for the two projects, but as of Friday it only received $9.6 million.

"The Office of Technology is in the process of working with the grant implementation team to ensure accuracy and documentation of all invoices and payments," said Diane Holley-Brown, a spokeswoman told the Saturday Gazette Mail.

Frontier is using the stimulus funds to provide fiber-based services to 630 "community anchor institutions," which includes a mix of schools, libraries, jails, 911 centers, health clinics, county courthouses, planning agencies and other state & local government facilities. The telco, according to the report, still needs to complete the installation to the final 15 sites.

Aside from the middle mile projects, Frontier, which became West Va.'s largest service provider when it purchased Verizon's wireline facilities in 14 rural markets, recently received the state senate's backing for its proposal to target broadband rollouts in unserved areas of the state.

For more:
- Saturday Gazette Mail has this article

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