Frontier unfazed by union protest over purchase of Verizon lines

West Virginia-based Verizon telephone union workers continue to rally against the sale of the company's assets to Frontier Communications, but neither Verizon or Frontier seem concerned that the deal won't go through as planned.

With Frontier and Verizon owning a large amount of wireline connections in West Virginia (Frontier owns 147,000, while Verizon owns 617,000 lines), the Communications Workers of America (CWA) hopes it can use that state as leverage to prevent the deal from being completed.

However compelling a case the CWA thinks it has, Frontier and Verizon maintain that the deal will be completed on time. "Everything the union and others have brought up we've been able to shoot down with immediacy," said Steve Crosby, senior vice president for government and regulatory affairs at Frontier in a Wall Street Journal article. Verizon spokesman Peter Thonis added that "we expect to close by the middle of this year."

Still, Verizon hasn't had the greatest track record in selling off its assets to other service providers. Both Hawaiian Telecom and more recently FairPoint Communications, which both bought up former Verizon assets, filed for bankruptcy when they could not handle the debt load.

Unions aren't the only ones opposed to the deal, however. While Frontier did get approval from a number of the 14 states it will serve, an Illinois judge recommended their state block the deal and the West Virginia Public Service Commission could make its decision either later this month or in May.

For more:
- Wall Street Journal has this article

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