Frontier says 40% of speed issues are resolved by fixing in-home Wi-Fi

Frontier Communications has committed to increasing the density of its fiber and copper-based broadband footprints when it completes its acquisition of Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) properties, enabling it to deliver 25 Mbps and up to 1 Gbps, but the real speed issue that continues to be a hindrance is the home network.

Dan McCarthy, Frontier


Speaking to investors during the J.P. Morgan Global High Yield & Leveraged Finance Conference, Dan McCarthy, CEO of Frontier, said that solving the Wi-Fi connectivity issue in the home can help a user overcome the perception that the last mile connection is the culprit.

"I think the biggest issue that we face in having those kind of increments of capacity is the experience in the home can be substandard not only for us and they perceive (it) as a speed issue, but it's really a Wi-Fi issue," McCarthy said. "If you look at that many of the perceived speed issues in a home are purely due to a neighbor on the same Wi-Fi channel, which can cut your throughput by 50 percent.

McCarthy added that Frontier is talking with a number of its home gateway vendors on ways to overcome the Wi-Fi speed issue.

"We are working with a number of manufacturers to improve the Wi-Fi experience and we think once you do that it really solves 40 percent of the speed issues that we see out there today," McCarthy said.

The service provider has set a near-term goal to provide more customers within its copper territories with speeds of 25-50 Mbps, with an of delivering speeds of 100 Mbps and beyond. Frontier currently offers a 100 Mbps copper-based service in parts of its Connecticut market. 

"At the 25 Mbps level, customers generally unless they have many devices in the home, are very satisfied," McCarthy said. "Our 50 Mbps product solves the device issues, including simultaneous streaming."

To support these speeds over copper, Frontier will continue to upgrade its existing and new last-mile markets to support higher speeds.

Similar to the Connecticut market it entered when it purchased AT&T's (NYSE: T) assets, the service provider plans to make upgrades to the copper and FTTH markets it will take over from Verizon in April.

"We're investing in the copper facilities as we go into these three states," McCarthy said. "We'll be putting in the latest generation of bonded VDSL with vectoring capabilities at the DSLAM and that gives us the ability to have those 80-100 Mbps speeds."

While not laying out specific expansion plans, McCarthy said Frontier will immediately expand the amount of homes passed with fiber when it completes the Verizon deal.

"Before we do the three-state acquisition, about 10 percent of our markets are passed with fiber-to-the-home and with these three markets about 55 percent of those markets are fiber-to-the-home," McCarthy said. "We'll have a substantial slug of markets passed with fiber."

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